Skip to main content

Full text of "The Forms Of Music"

See other formats

781.5 *73* 
Tovey $1^5 
fhe forms of music 


kansas city 111 public library 

Books will be issued only 

on presentation of library card, 
Please report lost cards and 

change of residence promptly. 
Card holders are responsible for 

all books, records, films, pictures 
or other library materials 
checked out on their cards. 


Donald Francis Tovey 

Born in 1 875, Donald Francis Tovey was a British musicologist 
and composer. He took classical honors with his B.A. at Ox 
ford in 1898, and became a pianist of the first rank, though he 
never sought a virtuoso career. From 1914 to 1940 he was 
Reid Professor of Music at Edinburgh University. He died in 
1 940. His other books include Normality and Freedom in Music, 
The Main Stream of Music, A Musician Talks, Essays in 
Musical Analysis, and Beethoven. 


Meridian Books edition first published October 1956 

First printing September 1956 

Second printing June 1957 

Third printing July 1958 

Fourth printing April 1959 

Fifth printing December 1959 

Reprinted by arrangement with Oxford University Press 
Originally published 1944 as Musical Articles from the 
Encyclopaedia Britannica 

Library of Congress catalog card number: 56-10015 
Manufactured in the United States of America 


THE desire to set down upon paper a comprehensive system of 
musical education was present in the mind of Donald Tovey for 
the greater part of his life. In 1896, when he was 21, he wrote in 
a letter to a friend that he had * begun a great work " on the means 

of Expression in Music" If ever I finish the thing, into 

print it shall go. Thirty years later, he was talking about a series 
of four text-books on music. But into print neither the one 
scheme nor the other went: the final expression of his ideas on 
music was never written. It never could be written, because it 
was never final in the mind of that incessant discoverer in music. 
Nor was his method of writing that of finality. 

The nearest point to finality which Tovey ever reached in his 
expression of a formal philosophy in music is to be found in the 
articles on * technique and aesthetics of music (as he called them 
himself in the list of his writings supplied to Who s Who) which 
he contributed to the Encyclopaedia Britannica. Those articles, 
written from 1906 onwards for the eleventh edition of the Ency 
clopaedia, and revised again, almost rewritten, for the fourteenth 
edition in 1929, were necessarily cast in the imposed form of 
treatises under word-headings. Yet they coalesce very firmly 
into a clear and coherent testament, almost into a text-book of 
the art of music in its widest meaning. Like the Glossary to the 
Essays in Musical Analysis, the entries are unconnected, the 
whole comprehensive, and while not attempting completeness, 
afford the reader a wider range of musical thought and a fuller 
discussion of technical problems than most of the exhaustive and 
laborious theses now available. 

Tovey himself set great store by these articles. They formed 
for him the basis of his teaching at the University ^of Edinburgh. 
They are the background to those fuller considerations of musical 
compositions which are his Essays in Musical Analysis. It was his 
own proposal that these articles should be gathered together into 
one volume, an idea expressed to me as long ago as 1926. Means 
were then taken towards the end of publishing, and it was agreed 
that Tovey should in his own time make any alterations or correc 
tions necessary for the new method of presentation. But many 
other fresh and no doubt more important ideas and schemes came 
bubbling up into that wonderfully fertile brain, and nothing was 
done about the book of musical articles. I say more important 
because, though he was in life so fully occupied, it has now been 
found possible to publish these articles after the author s death. 

This book contains all the articles which Tovey wrote for the 


Encyclopaedia Britannica, as they now appear there, with the 
exception of one on * Modern Music and the biographies. The 
book was set up from printed slips, and thus follows the text finally 
approved and corrected by the author. The very long musical 
examples are printed in full. In book form, a few minor altera 
tions have been necessary, mostly in the excising of references, 
and the bringing of the printer s style* into line with that of 
Tovey s other books. An occasional slip in the musical examples 
has been corrected. We do not know what Tovey, an inveterate 
improver of his own works, might have done to these articles 
to-day, had he been alive to read them again in corrected proofs : 
we do know that they stand as he passed them for publication. 

The alphabetical order of the key- words has, after much con 
sideration, been retained. Those who argue that the general 
article * Music * should be printed first can, as many people will, 
read it out of order before the others. An index has been added. 

Permission to reprint these articles as they stand has been 
kindly granted by the publishers of the Encyclopaedia Britannica, 
to whom also thanks are due for the facilities given towards the 
preparation of the book. The proofs have been read by Dr. Ernest 
Walker and Mr. R. C. Trevelyan, whose skilful assistance I 
gratefully acknowledge. 








CHAMBER Music 6 









MASS 85 



Music 101 

OPERA 143 



PROGRAMME Music 167 


RONDO 192 




SUITE 233 




INDEX 247 



ARIA, a term, equivalent to the English air , signifying a melody 
apart from the harmony, but especially a musical composition for 
a single voice or instrument, with an accompaniment of other 
voices or instruments. 

The classical aria developed from the expansion of a single 
vocal melody, generally on the lines of what is known as binary 
form (see SONATA and SONATA FORMS). Accordingly, while the 
germs of aria form may be traceable in advanced examples of 
folk-song, the aria as a definite art-form could not exist before 
the middle of the seventeenth century, because the polyphony of 
the sixteenth century left no room for the development of melody 
for melody s sake. When at the beginning of the seventeenth 
century the Monodists (see HARMONY) dimly conceived the enor 
mous possibilities latent in their new art of accompanying single 
voices by instruments, it was natural that for many years the 
mere suggestiveness and variety of their experiments should 
suffice, without coherent forms, to retain the attention of con 
temporary listeners. But, even at the outset, the most novel 
harmonies used with the most poignant rhetoric were not enough 
in themselves to satisfy the pioneers. Accordingly, Monteverdi s 
famous lament of the deserted Ariadne is one of many early 
examples that appeal to a rudimentary sense of form by making 
the last phrase identical with the first. 

As instrumental music grew, and the classical sense of key 
became strong and consistent (in the hands of Alessandro Scar 
latti), composers were driven to appeal to that sense of har 
monically-solid melody which had asserted itself in folk-music 
before the history of harmonic music may be said to have begun. 

By Scarlatti s time it was thoroughly established that an ex 
tended melody should normally modulate to the dominant after 
establishing its own key, and that the subsequent modulations 
should work through other related keys back to the tonic. Intro 
duce the voice by an instrumental * ritornello , containing the gist 
of the melody and recurring, in part or in whole, at every full 
close; and you have a form which can expand a melody so as 
to give ample scope both to the singer and to the accompanying 
players. The aria became the prototype of the CONCERTO (q.v.). 

The addition of a middle section with a da capo results in the 
universal eighteenth-century da capo form of aria. The possibili 
ties of variety are greater than the description might suggest. 
The voice may enter with a different theme from that of the 
ritornello ; the ritornello may be stated in separate portions ; the 



ritornello may have its own contrast between solo and tutti instru 
ments; the vocal material may combine with it contrapuntally, 
and so on. All the arias and duets in Bach s B minor Mass and 
Christmas Oratorio differ in these matters, and the differences 
well repay analysis, being often subtly suggested by the sense of 
the words. The middle section generally contributes no new 
element, except that it avoids the tonic. Gluck, who swept away 
the whole method as inherently anti- dramatic, points out, in the 
preface to Akeste, that the middle section is generally perfunctory, 
and that the sole object of the da capo is to enable the singer to 
display new ornaments. Nevertheless, the classical (or Neapoli 
tan) aria is a composition of considerable length, in a form which 
cannot fail to be effective and coherent; and there is little cause 
for wonder in the extent to which it dominated eighteenth- 
century music. 

The aria forms are profoundly influenced by the difference 
between the sonata style and the style of Bach and Handel. But 
the scale of the form is inevitably small, and in any opera an aria 
is hardly possible except in a situation which is a tableau rather 
than an action. Consequently there is no such difference between 
the form of the classical operatic aria of Mozart and that of the 
Handelian type as there is between sonata and suite music. The 
scale, however, has become too large for the da capo, which was 
in any case too rigid to survive in music designed to intensify a 
dramatic situation instead of to distract attention from it. The 
necessary change of style was so successfully achieved that, until 
Wagner succeeded in devising music that moved absolutely pari 
passu with his drama, the aria remained as the central formal 
principle in dramatic music; and few things in artistic evolution 
are more interesting than the extent to which Mozart s predeces 
sor, the great dramatic reformer Gluck, profited by the essential 
resources of his pet aversion the aria style, when he had not only 
purged it of what had become the stereotyped ideas of ritor- 
nellos and vocal flourishes, but animated it by the new sense of 
dramatic climax to which the sonata style appealed. 

In modern opera the aria is almost always out of place, and the 
forms in which definite melodies nowadays appear are rather 
those of the song in its limited sense as that of a poem in formal 
stanzas all set to the same music. In other words, a song in a 
modern opera tends to be something that would be sung even if 
the drama had to be performed as a play without music, whereas 
a classical aria would in non-musical drama be a soliloquy. 

In the later works of Wagner those passages in which we can 
successfully detach complete melodies from their context have, 
one and all, dramatically the aspect of songs and not of solilo 
quies. Siegmund sings the song of Spring to his sister-bride; 


Mime teaches Siegfried lessons of gratitude in nursery rhymes ; 
and the whole story of the Meistersinger is a series of opportuni 
ties for song-singing. The distinctions and gradations between 
aria and song are of great aesthetic importance, but their history 
would carry us too far. The main distinction is obviously of the 
same importance as that between dramatic and lyric poetry. 

The term aria form is applied, generally most inaccurately, 
to all kinds of slow cantabile instrumental music of which the 
general design can he traced to the operatic aria. Mozart, for 
example, is very fond of slow movements in large binary form 
without development, and this is constantly called aria form, 
though the term ought certainly to be restricted to such examples 
as have some traits of the aria style, such as the first slow move 
ment in the great Serenade in B flat. At all events, until writers 
on music have agreed to give the term some more accurate use, 
it is as well to avoid it and its cognate version, Lied form, 
altogether in speaking of instrumental music. 

The air or aria in Bach s suites is a short binary movement in 
a flowing rhythm in not very slow common or duple time. 


CANTATA (Italian for a song or story set to music), a vocal com 
position accompanied by instruments and generally containing 
more than one movement In the sixteenth century, when all 
serious music was vocal, the term had no reason to exist,, but 
with the rise of instrumental music in the seventeenth century 
cantatas began to exist under that name as soon as the instru 
mental art was definite enough to be embodied in sonatas. From 
the middle of the seventeenth till late in the eighteenth century 
a favourite form of Italian chamber music was the cantata for one 
or two solo voices, with accompaniment of harpsichord and per 
haps a few other solo instruments. It consisted at first of a 
declamatory narrative or scene in recitative, held together by a 
primitive aria repeated at intervals. Fine examples may be found 
in the church music of Carissimi ; and the English vocal solos of 
Puree!! (such as "Mad Torn and *Mad Bess 1 ) show the utmost 
that can be made of this archaic form. With the rise of the da 
capo aria the cantata became a group of two or three arias joined 
by recitative. Handel s numerous Italian duets and trios are 
examples on a rather large scale. His Latin motet Silete Venti, 
for soprano solo, shows the use of this form in Church music. 

The Italian solo cantata soon became indistinguishable from 
a scene in an opera. In the same way the Church cantata, solo or 
choral, is indistinguishable from a small oratorio. This is equally 
evident in the two hundred Church cantatas of Bach or in the 
Chandos Anthems of Handel. Many of Bach s larger cantatas 
are actually called oratorios; and the Christmas Oratorio is a 
collection of six Church cantatas originally intended for perfor 
mance on six different days, though together forming as complete 
an artistic whole as any classical oratorio. 

Bach s Church cantatas formed part of a Church service, well- 
organized for a coherent musical scheme. Many of Bach s greatest 
cantatas begin with an elaborate chorus followed by a couple of 
arias and recitatives, and end with a plain chorale. Such a scheme 
is pointless in the concert-room, but it is magnificently appro 
priate to the Lutheran Church service. The text was based upon 
the gospel or lessons for the day; unless the cantata was short, 
the sermon probably took pkce after the first chorus or one of 
the arias, and the congregation joined in the final chorale. Thus 
the unity of the service was the unity of the music; and, in the 
cases where all the movements of the cantata were founded on 
one and the same chorale tune, this unity has never been equalled, 
except by those sixteenth-century masses and motets which are 


founded upon the Gregorian tones of the festival for which they 
are written. In modern times the term cantata is applied almost 
exclusively to choral, as distinguished from solo, vocal music. It 
is also used as equivalent to secular oratorio . 

It is possible to recognize as a distinct artistic type that kind 
of early nineteenth-century cantata in which the chorus is the 
vehicle for music more lyric and song-like than the oratorio 
style, though at the same time not excluding the possibility of a 
brilliant climax in the shape of a light order of fugue. Beethoven s 
Glorreiche Augenblick is a brilliant pot-boiler* in this style; 
Weber y s Jubel-Cantate is a typical specimen, and Mendelssohn s 
Walpurgisnacht is the locus classicus. Mendelssohn s { symphony 
cantata , the Lobgesang (Hymn of Praise), is a hybrid work, partly 
in the oratorio style. It is preceded by three symphonic move 
ments, a device avowedly suggested by Beethoven s Ninth Sym 
phony; but the analogy is not accurate, as Beethoven s work is a 
symphony of which the fourth movement is a choral finale of 
essentially single design, whereas Mendelssohn s * symphony can 
tata * is a cantata with a triple symphonic prelude. 

The full lyric possibilities of a string of choral songs were 
realized at last by Brahms in his Rinaldo, set to a text which 
Goethe wrote at the same time as he wrote that of the Walpur 
gisnacht. The point of Brahms s only experiment in this genre 
has been missed by critics who expected so voluminous a work 
to be on more elaborate lines. But it represents a definite art- 
form. The remaining types of cantata (beginning with Beet 
hoven s Meeresstilh) and including most of Brahms s and many 
notable English small choral works) are merely so many different 
ways of setting to choral music a poem which is just too long to 
be comprised in one movement. 


CHAMBER MUSIC, a term obviously denoting music for perfor 
mance in a room of a private house, has acquired the special 
meaning of large works in the sonata style for a group 01^ indi 
vidual instruments; although it may be borne in mind that m the 
early eighteenth-century vocal cantatas for solo voices were at 
least as important as purely instrumental compositions. 

One feature of immaturity is common to all the chamber music, 
vocal and instrumental, between and including Corelli and Bach ; 
namely, that the harmonic background is left to the harpsichord 
player to extemporize from the indications given by a figured 
bass (q.v.). Evenworkswith elaborate obbligato harpsichord parts 
have passages which presuppose this extempore element Only 
the concerted music 6f the French clavecinists Couperin and 
Rameau consistently leaves nothing undetermined. 

Works with Continuo.The forms of chamber music are those 
of music at large, and it ha? no independent history. But it is 
very definite in the principles which determine its texture; and 
the element of the figured bass or continue puts the earlier 
chamber music into an altogether different category from the art 
which arose with Haydn. As is shown in the articles INSTRUMEN 
TATION, MUSIC, and SONATA FORMS, the sonata style of Haydn and 
Mosart irrevocably brought the dramatic element into music ; but 
in addition to this, it brought alike into chamber music and 
orchestral music a fundamental principle that all players in an 
instrumental combination should between them provide their 
own harmonic background without the aid of a continue part. 

Hie disappearance of the continue in later chamber music 
marks the realization of the central classical idea of the style, 
according to which there is no part in the ensemble left either 
indeterminate or in permanent subordination. 

With its disappearance must also disappear the conception of 
the ensemble as a group of treble instruments over a firm bass, 
requiring a middle mass of harmony on an altogether remoter 
plane to hold them together. The middle part must be on the 
same plane as the others, and all must be as ready to provide the 
background as to carry on the main lines. There were no string 
quartets in the continuo period; and, what is more significant, 
the viola parts in the orchestra of Bach and Handel are, except 
when accompanying a choral fugue, neither interesting in them 
selves nor sufficient to fill up the gap between violins and bass. 
Their function is to reinforce the continuo without going a step 
out of their way to make the harmony always complete. 


Haydn s first Quartets. Rightly understood and performed, 
the result is perfectly mature; but it is worlds away from the 
crudest of Haydn s first Quartets, which, written before the death 
of Handel, show the criterion of self-sufficiency firmly established 
so that there is no room for a continue. The first string quartets 
are not clearly distinguished from orchestral music; wind parts 
have been discovered for Haydn s op. i, no. 5 and op. 2, no. 3, 
and Haydn throughout his life remained capable of occasionally 
forgetting that his quartet-violoncello was not supported by a 
double-bass. But it is fascinating to watch the steady emergence 
of Haydn s quartet-style from the matrix of orchestral habit. In 
the Quartets of op. 9 which he afterwards wished to regard as the 
beginning of his work, the four string parts are equally necessary 
and equally alive. They are not equally prominent; because the 
criterion is not polyphony but self-sufficiency for the purposes of 
this kind of music ; and in this kind of music the normal place for 
melody is on the top. 

In the very important six Quartets, op. 20, Haydn discovers 
the character of the violoncello as something more than a bass 
to the violins you can hear him discover it in the fourth bar of 
op. 20, no. i ; and with this discovery all possibility of the use 
of a double-bass vanishes, though miscalculations occur in the 
latest quartets. Had Haydn been a great violoncellist his first 
quartets might have been as luxurious as the quintets of Boc- 
cherini, and he might have dallied longer in the bypaths of 
a style which tries to give each instrument in turn its display 
of solo- work. But Haydn s line of progress is steady and direct, 
and no document in the history of music is more important than 
his op. 20, with its three fugues (which secure autonomy and 
equality of parts by a return to the old polyphony), its passages 
of turn-about solo, its experiments in rich and special effects, 
and, most important of all, its achievements in quite normal 
quartet- writing such as pervades the remaining forty-odd quar 
tets which end with his pathetic last fragment, op. 103. 

Haydn s Pianoforte Trios also cover his whole career but they 
show, from first to last, no effort to achieve more than pianoforte 
sonatas with string accompaniment. 

Mozart. Mozart was an inveterate polyphonist by the time 
he was 12 years old, and the character of the viola, unnoticed by 
Haydn in his ripest quartets, is imaginatively realized in quartets 
written by Mozart at the age of 17. The point is not that the 
viola takes part in a more polyphonic style (though Mozart s 
early quartets are full of contrapuntal and canonic forms) but 
that the composer s imagination is attentive to the tone of the 
instrument in every note he writes for it. 

Mozart s Pianoforte Trios, which are very insufficiently appre- 


dated by historians and players, are perfect examples of inde 
pendence of parts, no less than the two great Pianoforte Quartets 
{which should have been six but that the publisher cried off his 
birealn because of their difficulty) and the Quintet for pianoforte 
and wind instruments. The set of six great String Quartets 
(avowedly inspired by and affectionately dedicated to Haydn) 
contains some of the profoundest music outside Beethoven; and 
of the four remaining quartets, the last three, written for the 
King of Prussia, who was a good violoncellist, gave his majesty 
a grateful and prominent part and showed that Mozart s wit was 
able to maintain the full greatness of his style even when he was 
restricted to a lighter vein of sentiment. 

His String Quintets are as great as the quartets. Mozart pre 
fers a second viola as the fifth member; and the only case where 
he suggested a second violoncello was by way of substitute for the 
horn in a little quintet for the curious combination of one violin, 
two violas, violoncello, and horn. The combination of wind 
instruments with strings is a special problem the mention of 
which brings us back to reconsider the central idea of chamber 
music as now realized by Haydn and Mozart. 

Vocal music has here dropped below the horizon. The human 
voice inevitably thrusts all instruments into the background; and 
we are now at the stage where the forces engaged in chamber 
mutt be on planes sufficiently near to combine in one 
focus. A slight divergence of plane will give the mind 
analogous to those of stereoscopic vision. ^ For example, 
the masters of chamber music with pianoforte take 

in supporting heavy but incomplete pianoforte chords 
by the tow notes of the violoncello: a procedure puzzling to self- 
centred pianoforte virtuosos, and never risked by composers who 
not attained a pure style. Again, the clarinet, in the wonder- 
fa! Quintets by Mozart (A major) and Brahms (B minor) does 
not and it not intended to blend with the strings, but it nowhere 
gives a more intense pleasure than where it behaves as an inner 
part Hfce the others. These works belong to the highest 

of the art. 

and Otker C(mMmttm$.~Tht flute blends with no 
thing; even among other wind Instruments it is like water-colour 
k It accordingly plays a part in witty little works, such 
at Beethoven s Serenade for flute, violin, and viola (twice imi 
tated bj Reger), and Mozart s two Quartets with strings. The 
once not much less important in continue chamber music 
the flute (Handel confessed to * writing like a devil for it* 
he was a boy) requires other wind instruments to relieve 
the car of its plaintive tone, though Mozart wrote a pretty little 
Quartet for it with strings, and Beethoven achieved a remarkable 


tour deforce in an early Trio for two oboes and cor anglais. But 
the further consideration of wind instruments brings us again to 
the borderland regions of chamber music. What are the smallest 
forces that can make a coherent combination for chamber music; 
a nd at what point do the forces become too large to cohere ? 

The pianoforte, even when treated in Mozart s hard-pencil 
line-drawing style, provides a central mass" of complete harmony 
that can absorb shocks and combine (pace the virtuoso player) 
with anything. The question begins to be interesting when we 
deal with the strings alone. Duets for two violins are obviously 
a tour deforce, since their bass can never go below a contralto G. 
This tour deforce is executed on a large scale with a mastery and 
euphony beyond praise by Spohr. Mozart, corning to the rescue 
of Michael Haydn, who was prevented by illness from comple 
ting a set of six commissioned by the Archbishop of Salzburg, 
wrote two for violin and viola, which profit greatly by the extra 
lower fifth, and which are written with great zest and a reckless 
disregard (justified by personal knowledge) of the chance that 
the Archbishop might detect their difference from the dutiful 
efforts of brother Michael. 

Trios for two violins and any kind of bass but the viola are 
ominously suggestive of a return to, or non-emergence from, the 
continuo method; and indeed it may be doubted whether any 
Italian composer before Cherubini ever did quite emerge there 
from. Trios for violin, viola, and violoncello are a very different 
matter. They represent the problem of the string quartet intensi 
fied into a tour de force. Mozart s great example, the Diverti 
mento in E flat, is in all its six movements on a scale and a plane 
of thought that its title vainly belies. It inspired Beethoven to 
ofie of his biggest early works, the Trio, op. 3 ; and the success of 
this encouraged Beethoven to write the three String Trios, op. 9, 
of which the first, in G major, and the third, in C minor, are 
bolder in conception and execution than even the largest of the 
six String Quartets, op. 18, and not less sonorous than any string 
quartet written before or *since. 

The string quartet represents the normal apparatus for a cham 
ber music work of homogeneous tone. String quintets are usually 
produced in Mozart s way by doubling the viola. Doubling the 
violoncello, as in Schubert s great C major Quintet, produces a 
very rich tone and sets the first violoncello free to soar into the 
cantabile region without (as in other quintets and in quartets) 
depriving the ensemble of a deep bass. Sextets, for two violins, 
two violas, and two violoncellos, are represented in the two great 
works of Brahms. Octets for strings show signs of clotting into 
an orchestral style. Spohr hit upon the device of dividing the 
eight into antiphonal quartets; and his four double quartets are 


much nearer to the true style of chamber music than his string 
quartets, where his lower parts have the simplicity of early Haydn 
while the first violin plays a concerto above them, Mendelssohn 
in the wonderful Octet which he wrote at the age of 16, does not 
find Spohr s simple antiphonal scheme worth the trouble of 
specially grouping the players when he can use 255 different com 
binations of the eight without inquiring how they are seated. ^ 

As for the semi-orchestral borderland of septets and octets in 
which several wind instruments join and a double-bass adds 
depth without any normal capacity to rise into cantabile or solo 
work, this borderland (inhabited by Beethoven s Septet, Schu 
bert s Octet, and many glorious serenades and ^divertimenti of 
Mozart) has a fascinating aesthetic of its own. Wind instruments 
by themselves are happiest in pairs, as their tones contrast too 
sharply otherwise to blend at all, though Reicha, who composed 
regularly for two hours before breakfast every morning, ground 
out over 100 quintets for flute, oboe, clarinet, horn, and bassoon, 
all admirably euphonious, if they are up to the sample passages 
quoted by him in his treatise on composition. It is unreasonable 
to blame Mozart s glorious Serenade for thirteen wind instru 
ments for sounding like a military band; we ought rather to wish 
that a military band could sound like a Mozart serenade. 

Modern Tendencies. Nothing remains to be said about cham 
ber music, classical or modern, apart from the general tendencies 
of the art. The exclusive prevalence of sonata form in the classics 
is a result of the fact that when several persons assemble to play 
together they prefer to make the most of their opportunity. 
Smaller works are liable to be overlooked ; how otherwise can we 
account for the fact that most musicians do not realize the exis 
tence of three quiet minutes of the most delicate writing in 
Beethoven s third manner, the Quintet-Fugue, op. 137 ? A spirited 
Capriccio and a pretty Fugue by Mendelssohn have dropped out 
of sight for no other reason, while the Andante and Scherzo pub 
lished with them and Schubert s Allegrj) in C minor have roused 
interest as fragments of full-sized works. 

In modern times the sonata form no longer obstructs the view 
of other possibilities. The late Mr. W. W. Cobbett s prize com 
petitions stimulated English composers to the production of fan 
tasies in terse continuous-movement forms. Less important are 
the numerous experiments in the use of the human voice without 
words in an otherwise instrumental scheme. Nature responds 
cattishly to the pitchfork. Saint- Saens has a charming manner 
which puts the trumpet on its best behaviour in his amusing 
Septet. The trombone and side-drums in the chamber music of 
Stravinsky will do well enough in a very smart house-party where 
all the conversation is carried on in an esoteric family slang and 


the guests are expected to enjoy booby-traps. Very different is 
the outlook of some of our younger masters such as Hindemith, 
Jarnach, and others, whose renunciation of beauty was in itself 
a youthfully romantic gesture, and was accompanied by endless 
pains in securing adequate performance. The work of masterly 
performers can indeed alone save the new ideas from being 
swamped in a universal dullness which no external smartness can 
long distinguish from that commemorated in the Dunciad. 


CHORALE, a term used by English writers to indicate the hymn- 
tunes composed or adopted for use in church by the German 
reformers (Lat Choralis). German writers, however, apply the 
terms * Choral and Choral-gesang , as Luther himself would 
have applied them, to any solemn melody used in the church. It 
is thus the equivalent of canto fermo ; and the German rhymed 
versions of the biblical and other ancient canticles, such as the 
Magnificat and the Te Deum, are set to curious corruptions of 
the corresponding Gregorian tunes, which adaptations the com 
posers of classical German music called chorales with no more 
scruple than they applied the name to tunes of secular origin, 
German or foreign. The peculiarity of German chorale-music, 
however, is not only that its use, and consequently much of its 
invention, arose in connexion with the Reformation, by which the 
liturgy of the church became understanded of the people , but 
also that it belongs to a musical epoch in which symmetry of 
melody and rhythm was beginning to assume artistic importance. 
The growing sense of form shown by some of Luther s own tunes 
(e.g " Vom Himmel hoch, da komm* ich her) soon advanced, espe 
cially in the tunes of Criiger, beyond any that was shown by 
folk-music; and it provided a massive bulwark against the chaos 
that was threatening to swamp music on all sides at the beginning 
of the seventeenth century. 

By Bach s time all the polyphonic instrumental and vocal art- 
forms of the eighteenth century were mature; and though he 
loved to derive the design as well as the details of a large move 
ment from the shape of the chorale-tune on which it was based, 
he became quite independent of any aid from symmetry in the % 
tone as raw material The chorus of his Cantata Jesus nun set % 
gepremt h one of the most perfectly designed and quite the 
longest of movements ever based upon a chorale-tune treated 
phrase by phrase. Yet the tune is one of the most intractable in 
the world, though its most unpromising portion is the basis of 
the most Impressive feature in Bach s design (the slow middle 
section in triple time). 

In recent times the great development of interest in folk-music, 
and the discovery of the unique importance of Bach s work, have 
combined to tempt writers on music to overestimate the distinct 
ness of the art-forms based upon the German chorale. There is 
really nothing in these art-forms which is not continuous with 
the universal practice of writing counterpoint on a canto fermo. 
Thus Handel in his Italian and English works wrote no entire 


chorale movements, yet what is the passage In the Hallelujah 
Chorus from the kingdom of this world * to the end, but a treat 
ment of the second part of the chorale Wachet auP? Again, 
to return to the sixteenth century, what are the hymns of 
Palestrjna but figured chorales? In what way, except in the 
lack of symmetry in the Gregorian phrasing, do they differ from 
the contemporary setting by Orlando di Lasso, also a Roman 
Catholic, of the German chorale * Vater unser im Himmelreich ? 
In later times the use of German chorales, as in Mendelssohn s 
oratorios and organ sonatas, has had rather the aspect of a revival 
than of a development; though the technique and spirit of 
Brahms s posthumous Organ Chorale-preludes is thoroughly 
modern and vital. 

One of the most important, and practically the earliest, collec 
tion of chorales is that made by Luther and Johann Walther 
(1496-1570), the Enchiridion , published in 1524. Next in im 
portance we may place the Genevan Psalter (ist edition, Stras 
bourg, 1542; final edition, 1562), which is now conclusively 
proved to be the work of Bourgeois. From this Sternhold and 
Hopkins borrowed extensively (1562). The Psalter of C. Gou- 
dimel (Paris, 1565) is another among many prominent collections 
showing the steps towards congregational singing, i.e. the restric 
tion to * note-against-note counterpoint (sc. plain harmony), and, 
in twelve cases, the assigning of the melody to the treble instead 
of to the tenor. The first hymn-book in which this latter step 
was acted on throughout is Osiander s * Geistliche Lieder . . . 
also gesetzt, das ein christliche Gemein durchaus mitsingen kann 
(1586). But many of the finest and most famous tunes are of 
much later origin than any such collections. Several (e.g., * Ich 
freue mich in dir ) cannot be traced before Bach, and were very 
probably composed by him. 


CONCERTO, a term which appears as early as the beginning of the 
seventeenth century, at first with vague meanings, but soon 
acquiring a sense justified by its etymology (Lat. concertus, from 
certare, to strive; also confused with concentus), being applied 
chiefly to compositions in which unequal instrumental or vocal 
forces are brought into opposition. 

Although by Bach s time the concerto as a purely instrumental 
form was thoroughly established, the term frequently appears in 
the autograph title-pages of his Church cantatas, even when the 
cantata contains no instrumental prelude. Indeed, so entirely 
does the actual concerto form, as Bach understands it, depend 
upon the opposition of masses of tone unequal in volume, with a 
compensating inequality in power of commanding attention, that 
Bach is able to rewrite an instrumental movement as a chorus 
without the least incongruity of style. The very title of his 
secular cantata, Vereinigte Zwietrackt der wechselnden Saiten 
( united contest of turn-about strings ), is a perfect definition of 
the earlier form of concerto grosso, in whicb^the chief mass of 
the orchestra was opposed, not to a mere solo instrument, but to 
a small group called the concertino; unless, indeed, the whole 
work was for a large orchestral mass in which tutti passages 
alternate with passages in which the whole orchestra is dispersed 
in every possible kind of grouping. 

But the special significance of this cantata is that its first chorus 
is arranged from the second movement of the first Brandenburg 
Concerto, and that, while the orchestral material is merely trans 
posed and arranged for larger forces, the whole four-part chorus 
has been evolved from the solo part for a kit-violin (violino 
piccolo). This shows that the true relation between the opposed 
factors in a concerto depends not on volume of sound, but on 
power to command attention. 

A conveniently isolated individual will command more atten 
tion than the crowd, whether in real life, drama, or instrumental 
music. But in music the human voice, with human words, will 
thrust any orchestral force into the background, whether the 
voice be individual or choral. The full chorus is the equivalent 
of the kit-violin and the kit- violin is the equivalent of the full 
chorus because both assert personality against the orchestra. ^ 

Hence the polyphonic concerto is fundamentally identical with 
the vocal aria, as matured by Alessandro Scarlatti. The orchestra 
is entrusted with a short pregnant summary or ritornello of the 
main contents of the movement, and the solo, or the groups corre- 


spending thereto, will either take up this material or first intro 
duce new themes to be combined with it, and, in short, enter 
into relations with the orchestra very like those between the 
actor and the chorus in Greek drama. The polyphonic concerto, 
the vocal aria, and the forms of many of Bach s choruses, even 
including some that contain fugues, ought to be classed under 
the head of ritornello forms. (See ARIA.) Many of Bach s larger 
movements for solo instruments without orchestra will at once 
reveal the proper lines of their interpretation in the light of 
ritornello form. The harpsichord, no less than the organ, can 
obviously imitate contrasts between solos and tuttis with excellent 

In slow movements of concertos Bach uses the ground bass 
(see VARIATIONS), diversified by changes of key (Clavier Concerto 
in D minor) ; the more melodic types of binary form, sometimes 
with the repeats ornamentally varied or inverted (Concerto for 
three claviers in D minor, Concerto for clavier, flute, and violin 
in A minor), are found besides aria-form on the aria scale. In 
finales the rondo form (Violin Concerto in E major, Clavier 
Concerto in F minor) and the binary form (third Brandenburg 
Concerto) may be found. 

When musical forms changed to those of the dramatic sonata 
style, the problems of the concerto proved ridiculously easy to 
ordinary musicians and became tasks of the highest interest to the 
greatest composers. Bach s sons took important new steps. 
Philipp Emanuel Bach developed a romantic rhetoric. Johann 
Christian, the * London Bach, initiated the all-important method 
of emphasizing a change of key so that it became a dramatic event 
irreversible except by other dramatic developments. Mozart, as 
a boy, modelled himself closely on Johann Christian Bach, and 
by the time he was twenty was able to write concerto ritornellos 
that gave the orchestra admirable opportunity for asserting itself 
by the statement, in charmingly epigrammatic style, of some five 
or six sharply contrasted themes, afterwards to be worked out 
with additions by the solo, with the orchestra s cooperation and 

The problem changes rapidly as the scale of the composition 
grows. On a large scale a too facile alternation between solo and 
tutti produces forms too sectional for the high organization re 
quired in first movements; yet frequent alternation is evidently 
necessary, as the solo is audible only above a very subdued 
orchestral accompaniment, and it would be inartistic to confine 
the orchestra to that function. Hence in the classical concerto the 
ritornello is never abandoned, in spite of the enormous dimensions 
to which the sonata style expanded it. Mendelssohn and most 
later composers evidently see in it only a conventional impedi- 


ment easily abandoned. Yet its absence reduces the whole style 
to a more theatrical and lighter art-form. Hence it is restored 
to its place, not only by Brahms in his four magnificent examples, 
but by Joachim in his Hungarian Concerto and by Elgar in his 
Violin Concerto. The danger in so long an orchestral prelude is 
that the work may for some minutes be indistinguishable irom 
a symphony, and thus the entry of the solo may be unexpected 
without being inevitable. This will happen if the composer treats 
his tutti so like the exposition of a sonata movement as to make a 
deliberate transition from his first group of themes to a second 
group in a complementary key, even if the transition be only 
teraporary-as in Beethoven s C minor Concerto. But Beetho 
ven s C minor Concerto is the one which Spohr and Hummel and 
even Joachim took as their model, and thus the true solution of 
the problem remained for Brahms to rediscover. 

Mozart keeps his whole tutti in the tonic, relieved only by his 
mastery of sudden subsidiary modulation. Beethoven, in turn, 
after the C minor Concerto, grasped the true function of the 
opening tutti and enlarged it to his new purposes^ With an inter 
esting experiment of Mozart s before him, he, in his G major 
Concerto, op. 58, allowed the solo player to state the opening 
theme f making the orchestra enter pianissimo in a foreign key. 
In this concerto he also gave variety of key to the opening tutti 
by means of an important theme which modulates widely, an en 
tirely different thing from a deliberate modulation from material 
in one key to material in another. His fifth and last Pianoforte 
Concerto in E flat begins with a rhapsodical introduction for 
the solo player, followed by a long tutti confined to the tonic 
major and minor with a strictness explained by the gorgeous 
modulations with which the solo subsequently treats the second 
subject. In this concerto Beethoven also organizes the only un 
digested convention of the form, namely, the cadenza, a custom 
elaborated from the operatic aria, in which the singer was allowed 
to extemporize a flourish on a pause near the end. A similar 
pause was made in the final ritomello of a concerto, and the 
soloist was supposed to extemporize what should be equivalent to 
a symphonic coda. Cadenzas are, to this day, a form of musical 
appendicitis, since the player (or cadenza-writer) cannot be the 
composer himself and is rarely so capable of entering into his 
intentions as Joachim, whose written cadenzas for classical violin 
concertos are unsurpassable. 

Brahms s First Concerto in D minor, op. 15^ was the outcome 
of many changes, and, though on a mass of material originally 
intended for a symphony, was nevertheless so perfectly assimi 
lated into concerto form that in his next essay, the Violin Con 
certo, op. 77, he had no more to learn and was free to continue 


making true innovations. He found out how to include wide key- 
contrasts in the opening tutti, thus giving the form a wider range 
in definitely functional key than any other instrumental music. 
Further, it may be noted that in this work Brahms develops a 
counter-plot in the opposition between solo and orchestra ; giving 
not only the development by the solo of material stated by the 
orchestra, but also a counter- development by the orchestra of 
material stated by the solo. This concerto is, on the other hand, 
remarkable as being the last in which a blank space is left for a 
cadenza; a testimony of confidence in Joachim. In the Piano 
forte Concerto in B flat, and in the Double Concerto, op. 102, 
the idea of an introductory statement in which the solo takes 
part before the opening tutti is carried out on a large scale, and 
in the Double Concerto both first and second subjects are thus 

The forms of slow movements and finales in classical concer 
tos, though often treated in special ways, present no general 
principles peculiar to the concerto; for a sectional opposition 
between solo and tutti is not of great disadvantage to slow move 
ments and finales. The scherzo, on the other hand, is normally 
too sectional for successful adaptation to classical concerto style, 
and the solitary great example of its use is the second movement 
of Brahms s B flat Pianoforte Concerto, a movement in a very 
special form. 

The post-classical concertos, in which the first movement dis 
penses with the opening tutti, began with Mendelssohn, whose 
Violin Concerto dominates the whole subsequent history of the 
form. The happy idea of putting a cadenza at the dramatic crisis 
of the return after development instead of in the coda has almost 
become a convention. The other movements of concertos have 
not been affected by Mendelssohn s changes, nor does the linking 
of all three movements uninterruptedly together make any essen 
tial difference to the scheme. But there is no limit to the expan 
sion or reduction of the first movement. Spohr reduces it to an 
accompanied recitative in his Gesangs-scene, a work in which he 
discovered that a concerto could be an aria, which astonished 
him as the swimming of ducklings astonishes the fostering hen. 
Bruch s famous G minor Concerto (not his only interesting ex 
periment in new concerto forms) also reduced the first movement 
to dramatic gestures without dramatic action. On the other hand, 
the huge first movement of Schumann s Pianoforte Concerto was 
originally intended to stand alone under the title of Fantasia. 
This example would cover the case of most first movements of 
this size in modern concertos, whether like Schumann s they have 
second subjects and recapitulations or not. 

The case where the concerto as a whole is a fantasia (as with 


Liszt) needs no discussion. Another line has been struck out by 
Saint- Saens, most neatly in his first Violoncello Concerto ; name 
ly, that the whole work is one movement, but that after an ex 
position comprising a first* and second subject the develop 
ment drifts into a slow movement (or scherzo), and that this is 
followed by a finale of which the matter is partly independent 
and partly a recapitulation completing the first movement. In 
his C minor Pianoforte Concerto Saint- Saens begins with a 
theme with variations and proceeds with a slow second theme, 
followed by a scherzo and finale which transform their own and 
the previous materials in various effective ways. But really the 
term Fantasia would adequately cover all post-classical forms of 
concerto. The only modern meaning of the word is * composi 
tion for one or more solo players with orchestra ; and no special 
aesthetic or formal questions remain to be considered within the 
limits of this article. 


THE forms of music may be considered in two aspects, the texture 
of the music from moment to moment, and the shape of the 
musical design as a whole. Historically the texture of music 
became definitely organized long before the shape could be deter 
mined by any but external or mechanical conceptions. The laws 
of musical texture were known as the laws of counterpoint (see 
COUNTERPOINT and HARMONY). The contrapuntal forms, then, 
are historically the earliest and aesthetically the simplest in 
music; the simplest, that is to say, in principle, but not neces 
sarily the easiest to appreciate or to execute. Their simplicity is 
like that of mathematics, the simplicity of the elements involved ; 
it develops into results more subtle and intricate than popular; 
whereas much of the art that is popular contains many and 
various elements combined in ways which, though familiar in 
appearance, are often not recognized for the complex conven 
tions of civilization that they really are. 


In the canonic forms, the earliest known in music as an inde 
pendent art, the laws of texture also determine the shape of the 
whole, so that it is impossible, except in the light of historical 
knowledge, to say which is prior to the other. The principle of 
canon being that one voice shall reproduce note for note the 
material of another, it follows that in a composition where all 
parts are canonic and where the material of the leading part con 
sists of a predetermined melody, such as a Gregorian chant or a 
popular song, the composer has nothing to do but to adjust 
minute detail till the harmonies fit. The whole composition is the 
predetermined melody plus the harmonic fitness. The art does 
not teach composition, but it does teach fluency under difficul 
ties, and thus the canonic forms play an important part in the 
music of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries ; nor indeed have 
they since fallen into neglect without grave injury to the art. But 
strict canon is inadequate, and may become a nuisance, as the 
sole regulating principle in music; nor is its rival and cognate 
principle of counterpoint on a canto fermo (see p. 30) more 
trustworthy in primitive stages. These are rigid mechanical 
principles; but even mechanical principles may force artistic 
thought to leave the facile grooves of custom and explore the 
real nature of things. Even to-day the canonic forms are great 
liberators if studied with intelligence. 


The earliest canonic form is the rondel or rota as practised in 
the twelfth century. It is, however, canonic by accident rather 
than in its original intention. It consists of a combination of 
short melodies in several voices, each melody being sung by each 
voice in turn. Now it is obvious that if one voice began alone, 
instead of all together, and if when it went on to the second 
melody the second voice entered with the first, and so on, the 
result would be a canon in the unison. Thus the difference 
between the crude counterpoint of the rondel and a strict canon 
in the unison is a mere question of the point at which the com 
position begins, and a twelfth-century rondel is simply a canon 
in the unison begun at the point where all the voices have already 
entered. There is some reason to believe that one kind of ron 
deau practised by Adam de la Hale was intended to be sung in 
the true canonic manner of the modern round; and the wonderful 
English rota, Sumer is icumen in , shows in the upper four 
parts the true canonic method, and in its two-part /> the method 
in which the parts began together. In these archaic works the 
canonic form gives the whole a stability contrasting oddly with 
its cacophonous warfare between nascent harmonic principles 
and ancient antiharmonic criteria. As soon as harmony became 
established on the true contrapuntal basis, the unaccompanied 
round attained the position of an elegant trifle, with hardly more 
expressive possibilities than the triolet in poetry, a form to which 
its brevity and lightness render it fairly comparable. Orlando 
di Lasso s ClUbrons sans cesse is a beautiful example of the six 
teenth-century round with a delightful climax in its fourth line. 

In classical times the possibilities of the round enormously 

Ex . 1 Round (ofiginedty for malt twwm) When ike first voice reackts 
the 2nd lint) tkt 2nd voice begins the 1st line, and $o on. 


M-brons sans 

_-__ Diea lea boo * tee, 



*y ^ V^,,^> lir " r< <^_ 

Bieti let loc.tA, 4e 

Di*i lea ban - 


Increased ; and with the aid of elaborate instrumental accompani 
ments it plays an important feature at points where a tableau is 
possible in an operatic ensemble. In such a round the first voice 
can execute a long and complete melody before the second voice 
joins in. Even if this melody be not instrumentally accompanied, 
it will imply a certain harmony, or at all events arouse curiosity as 
to what the harmony is to be. And the sequel may shed a new 
light upon the harmony, and thus by degrees the whole character 
of the melody may be transformed. The humorous and subtle 
possibilities of this form were first fully revealed by Mozart, 
whose astounding unaccompanied canons would be better known 
but for his habit of extemporizing unprintable texts for them. 

The round or the catch (which is simply a specially jocose 
round) is a favourite English art-form, and the English specimens 
of it are almost as numerous and sometimes as anonymous as 
folk-songs. But they are apt to achieve only the easy task com 
prised in a good piece of free and fairly contrapuntal harmony in 
three or more parts, so arranged that it remains correct when the 
parts are brought in one by one. Even Cherubini gives hardly 
more than a valuable hint that the round may rise to higher 
things; and, unless he be an adequate exception, the unaccom 
panied rounds of Mozart and Brahms stand alone as works that 
raise the round to the dignity of a serious art-form. 

With the addition of an orchestral accompaniment the round 
obviously becomes a larger thing ; and in such specimens as that 
in the finale of Mozart s Cosifan tutte, the quartet in the, last act 
of Cherubini s Faniska, the wonderfully subtle quartet Mir 1st 
so wunderbar* in Beethoven s Fidelio, and the very beautiful 
numbers in Schubert s Masses where Schubert finds expression 
for his genuine contrapuntal feeling in lyric style, we find that 
the length of the initial melody, the growing variety of the 
orchestral accompaniment, and the finality and climax of the free 
coda combine to give the whole a character closely analogous to 
that of a set of contrapuntal variations, such as the slow move 
ment of Haydn s * Emperor* String Quartet, or the opening of 
the finale of Beethoven s Ninth Symphony. Berlioz is fond of 
beginning his largest movements like a kind of round ; e.g. his 
Dies Irae and the Scene aux Champs * in the Symphonie Fan- 
tastique, and the opening of his Damnation de Faust. 

Three conditions are necessary if a canon is to be a round. 
First, the voices must imitate each other in the unison ; secondly, 
they must enter at equal intervals of time ; and thirdly, the whole 
melodic material must be as many times longer than the interval 
of time as the number of voices; otherwise, when the last voice 
has finished the first phrase, the first voice will not be ready to 
return to the beginning. Strict canon is, however, possible under 


innumerable other conditions, and even a round is possible with 
some of the voices at the interval of an octave, as is of course 
inevitable in writing for unequal voices. And in a round for 
unequal voices there is obviously a new means of effect in the 
fact that, as the melody rotates, its different parts change their 
pitch in relation to each other. 

The art by which this is possible without incorrectness is that 
of double, triple, and multiple counterpoint (see COUNTERPOINT). 
Its difficulty is variable, and with an instrumental accompani 
ment there is none. In fugues, multiple counterpoint is one of 
the normal resources of music ; and few devices are more self- 
explanatory to the ear than the process by which the subject and 
countersubjects of a fugue change their positions, revealing fresh 
melodic and acoustic aspects of identical harmonic structure at 
every turn. This, however, is rendered possible and interesting 
by the fact that the passages in such counterpoint are often 
separated by episodes and are free to appear in different keys. 
Many fugues of Bach are written throughout in multiple counter 
point; but the possibility of this depends upon the freedom of the 
musical design, which allows the composer to select the most 
effective permutations and combinations of his counterpoint, and 
also to put them into whatever key he chooses. Some of Bach s 
choruses might be called Round- Fugues, so regular is the course 
by which each voice proceeds to a new countersubject as the next 
voice enters. See the Et in terra pax of the B minor Mass, and 
the great double chorus, Nun ist das Heil. 

The resources of canon, when emancipated from the principles 
of the round, are considerable when the canonic form is strictly 
maintained, and are inexhaustible when it is treated freely. A 
canon need not be in the unison; and when it is in some other 
interval the imitating voice alters the expression of the melody 
by transferring it to another part of the scale. Again, the imitat 
ing voice may follow the leader at any distance of time ; and thus 
we have obviously a definite means of expression in the difference 
of closeness with which various canonic parts may enter; as, for 
instance, in the stretto of a fugue. Again, if the answering part 
enters on an unaccented beat where the leader began on the 
accent (per arsin et thesm), there will be artistic value in the 
resulting difference of rhythmic expression. All these devices 
ought to be quite definite in their effect upon the ear, and their 
expressive power is undoubtedly due to their special canonic 
nature. The beauty of the pleading, rising sequences in crossing 
parts in the canon at the second at the opening of the * Recordare * 
in Mozart s Requiem is attainable by no other technical means. 
The close canon in the sixth at the distance of one minim in 
reversed accent in the eighteenth of Bach s Goldberg Varia 
tions owes its smooth harmonic expression to the fact that the 


two canonic parts move in sixths which would be simultaneous 
but for the pause of the minim, which reverses the accents of the 
upper part while it creates the suspended discords which give 
harmonic character. 

Two other canonic devices have important artistic value, viz., 
augmentation and diminution (two different aspects of the same 
thing), and inversion. In augmentation the imitating part sings 
twice as slow as the leader, or sometimes still slower. This ob 
viously should impart a new dignity to the melody, and in diminu 
tion the usual result is an accession of liveliness. Beethoven, in 
the fugues in his Sonatas, opp. 106 and no, adapted augmenta 
tion and diminution to sonata-like varieties of thematic expres 
sion, by employing them in triple time, so that, by doubling the 
length of the original notes across this triple rhythm, they pro 
duce an entirely new rhythmic expression. 

FY 10 

Theme of fugue in Beethoven Sonata^ Of. 106 

(b) Inverted 

(c) Augmented, producing 1 new rhythmic sense. 

Cancrizans, or backwards; producing new rhythms. 

* 4 7 is equivalent to a crotchet. Trills are not inverted. 



The device of inversion consists in the imitating part reversing 
every interval of the leader, ascending where the leader descends 
and vice versa. Its expressive power depends upon so fine a sense 
of the harmonic expression of melody that its artistic use is one 
of the surest signs of the difference between classical and merely 
scholastic music. There are many melodies of which the inver 
sion is as natural as the original form, and does not strikingly 
alter its character. Such are, for instance, the theme of Bach s 
Kunst der Fuge, most of Purcell s contrapuntal themes, the theme 
in the fugue of Beethoven s Sonata, op. no, and the eighth of 
Brahms s Variations on a Theme by Haydn. But even in such 
cases inversion may produce harmonic variety as well as a sense 
of melodic identity in difference. Where a melody has marked 
features of rise and fall, such as long scale passages or bold skips, 
the inversion, if productive of good harmonic structure and ex 
pression, will be a powerful method of transformation. This is 
admirably shown in the twelfth of Bach s Goldberg Variations, 
in the fifteenth fugue of the first book of his Forty-eight Preludes 
and Fugues, in the finale of Beethoven s Sonata, op. 106, and in 
the second subjects of the first and last movements of Brahms s 
Clarinet Trio. The only remaining canonic device which figures 
in classical music is that known as cancrizans, in which the 
imitating part reproduces the leader backwards. It is of extreme 
rarity in serious music ; and though it sometimes happens that a 
melody or figure of uniform rhythm will produce something 
equally natural when read backwards (as in Ex. 3), there is only 
one example of its use that appeals to the ear as well as the eye. 

Hx. 3 ffarttileu cantrizans devices forth* *y*, depending on iheclefsused. 
(a)Mozart f * Jupiter* Symphony (recapitulation in finale). 

(6) Brahms, Quartet In A minor, Op. 51 No. 2 


.Violin 2 


- 1 If J=J 

Violin I 



This is to be found in the finale of Beethoven s Sonata, op. 106, 
where it is applied to a theme with such sharply contrasted 
rhythmic and melodic features that with long familiarity a 
listener would probably feel not only the wayward humour of 
the passage in itself, but also its connexion with the main theme. 
All these devices are also independent of the canonic idea, since 
they are so many methods of transforming themes in themselves, 
and need not always be used in contrapuntal combination. 


In the polyphonic sixteenth-century motets the essentials of 
canonic effect are embodied in the entry of one voice after another 
with a definite theme stated by each voice, often at its own con 
venient pitch, thus producing a free canon for as many parts as 
there are voices, in alternate intervals of the fourth, fifth, and 
octave, and at artistically proportionate distances of time. It is 
not necessary for the later voices to imitate more than the opening 
phrase of the earlier, or, if they do imitate its continuation, to 
keep to the same interval. 

Such a texture differs in no way from that of the fugue of more 
modern times. But the form is not what is now understood as 
fugue, inasmuch as sixteenth-century composers did not nor 
mally think of writing long movements on one theme or of 
making a point of the return of a theme after episodes. With the 
appearance of new words in the text, the sixteenth-century com 
poser naturally took up a new theme without troubling to design 
it for contrapuntal combination with the opening ; and the form 
resulting from this treatment of words was faithfully reproduced 
in the instrumental ricercari of the time. Occasionally, however, 
breadth of treatment and terseness of design combined to pro 
duce a short movement on one idea indistinguishable in form 
from a fughetta of Bach ; as in the Kyrie of Palestrina s Missa 
Salve Regina. But in Bach s art the preservation of a main theme 
is more necessary the longer the composition; and Bach has an 
incalculable number of methods of giving his fugues a symmetry 
of form and balance of climax so subtle and perfect that we are 
apt to forget that the only technical rules of a fugue are those 
which refer to its texture. 

In Die Kunst der Fuge Bach has shown with the utmost clear 
ness how in his opinion the various types of fugue may be classi 
fied. That extraordinary work is a series of fugues, all on the 
same subject. The earlier fugues show how an artistic design may 
be made by simply passing the subject from one voice to another 
in orderly succession (in the first example without any change of 
key except from tonic to dominant). The next stage of organiza- 


tion is that in which the subject is combined with inversions, 
augmentations, and diminutions of itself. Fugues of this kind can 
be conveniently called stretto-fugues. 1 The third and highest 
stage is that in which the fugue combines its subject with con 
trasted countersubjects, and thus depends upon the resources of 
double, triple, and quadruple counterpoint. But of the art by 
which the episodes are contrasted, connected climaxes attained, 
and keys and subtle rhythmic proportions so balanced as to give 
the true fugue forms a beauty and stability second only to those 
of the true sonata forms, Bach s classification gives us no direct 

A comparison of the fugues in Die Kunst der Fuge with those 
elsewhere in his works reveals a necessary relation between the 
nature of the fugue-subject and the type of fugue. In Die Kunst 
der Fuge Bach has obvious didactic reasons for taking the same 
subject throughout; and, as he wishes to show the extremes of 
technical possibility, that subject must necessarily be plastic 
rather than characteristic. Elsewhere Bach prefers very lively or 
highly characteristic themes as subjects for the simplest kind of 
instrumental fugue. On the other hand, there comes a point when 
the mechanical strictness of treatment crowds out the rhetorical 
development of musical ideas ; and the seventh fugue (which is 
one solid mass of stretto in augmentation, diminution, and inver 
sion) and the twelfth and thirteenth (which are inverted bodily) 
are academic exercises outside the range of free artistic work. On 
the other hand, the fugues with well-developed episodes and the 
fugues in double and triple counterpoint are perfect works of art 
and as beautiful as any that Bach wrote without didactic purpose. 
The last fugue Bach worked out up to the point where three 
subjects, including the notes B, A, C, H, were combined. It has 
been found that the theme of the rest of Die Kunst der Fuge makes 
a fourth member of the combination and that the combination 
inverts. This accounts for the laborious exercises shown in the 
twelfth and thirteenth fugues. It is high time that teachers of 
counterpoint took Die Kunst der Fuge seriously. 

Fugue is still, as in the sixteenth century, a texture rather than 
a form; and the formal rules given in most technical treatises 
are based, not on the practice of the world s great composers, 
but on the necessities of beginners, whom it would be as absurd 
to ask to write a fugue without giving them a form as to ask a 
schoolboy to write so many pages of Latin verses without a sub 
ject. But this standard form, whatever its merits may be in com 
bining progressive technique with musical sense, has no con 
nexion with the true classical types of fugue, though it played an 
interesting part in the renascence of polyphony during the growth 
1 For technical terms see articles COUNTERPOINT and FUGUE. 


of the sonata-style, and even gave rise to valuable works of art 
(e.g. the fugues in Haydn s Quartets, op. 20). 

One of its rules was that every fugue should have a stretto. 
This rule, like most of the others, is absolutely without classical 
warrant; for in Bach the ideas of stretto and of countersubject 
almost exclude one another except in the very largest fugues, 
such as the twenty-second in the second book of the Forty-eight ; 
while Handel s fugue- writing is a masterly method, adapted as 
occasion requires, and with a lordly disdain for recognized de 
vices. But the pedagogic rule proved to be not without artistic 
point in later music ; for fugue became, since the rise of the sonata- 
styles, a contrast with the normal means of expression instead of 
being itself normal. And while this was so, there was consider 
able point in using every possible means to enhance the rhetorical 
force of its peculiar devices, as is shown by the astonishing 
dramatic fugues in Beethoven s last works. Nowadays, however, 
polyphony is universally recognized as a permanent type of 
musical texture, and there is no longer any reason why if it 
crystallizes into the fugue-form at all it should not adopt the 
classical rather than the pedagogic type. It is still an unsatisfied 
wish of accurate musicians that the term fugue should be used 
to imply rather a certain type of polyphonic texture than the 
whole form of a composition. We ought to describe as written 
in fugue such passages as the first subjects in Mozart s Zauber- 
flote Overture, the andantes of Beethoven s First Symphony and 
C minor Quartet, the first and second subjects of the finale of 
Mozart s G major Quartet, the second subject of the finale of 
his D major Quintet, and the exposition of quintuple counter 
point in the coda of the finale of the * Jupiter 7 Symphony, and 
countless other passages in the developments and main subjects 
of classical and modern works in sonata form. 


The early practice of building polyphonic designs on a voice- 
part confined to a given plainsong or popular melody furnishes 
the origin for every contrapuntal principle that is not canonic, and 
soon develops into a canonic principle in itself. When the canto 
fermo is in notes of equal length and is sung without intermission, 
it is of course as rigid a mechanical device as an acrostic. Yet it 
may have artistic value in furnishing a steady rhythm in contrast 
to suitable free motion in the other parts. When it is in the bass, 
as in Orlando di Lasso s six-part Regina Coeli, it is apt to cramp 
the harmony; but when it is in the tenor (its normal place in 
sixteenth-century music) or any other part, it determines little 
but the length of the composition. It may or may not appeal to 


the ear; if not, It at least does no harm, for its restricting influence 
on the harmony is small if its pace is slower than that of its sur 
roundings. If, on the other hand, its melody is characteristic, or 
can be enforced by repetition, it may become a powerful means 
of effect. 

When the rhythm of the canto fermo is not uniform, or when 
pauses intervene between its phrases, whether these are different 
figures or repetitions of one figure in different parts of the scale, 
the device passes into the region of free art. An early example 
of its simplest use, as it appears in Josquin s wonderful * Miserere 
and in a motet by Lasso, is described in the article MUSIC. A 
sixteenth-century mass, when it is not derived from those secular 
melodies to which the Council of Trent objected, is often so 
closely connected with the Gregorian tones, or at least with the 
themes of some motet appropriate to the holy day for w r hich it 
was written, that in a Roman Catholic cathedral service the poly 
phonic music of the best period co-operates with the Gregorian 
intonations to produce a consistent musical whole with a thematic 
coherence oddly suggestive of Wagnerian leitmotive. In later 
tiroes the Protestant music of Germany attained a similar con 
sistency, under more popular and complex musical conditions, 
by the use of chorale tunes; and in Bach s hands the fugal and 
other treatment of chorale melody is one of the most varied and 
expressive of artistic resources* The chorale is not unknown in 
Handel s English works (j? CHORALE, p. 12). 

From the use of an old canto fermo to the invention of an 
original one is a small step; and it merges into the free develop 
ment of counterpoint on a canto fermo, the general art of com 
bining melodies which gives harmony its deepest expression and 
musical texture its liveliest action. Nor is there any line to 
septrtte polyphonic from non-polyphonic methods of accom 
panying melody; and Bach s Qrgelbuchlein and Brahms s post 
humous Organ Chorales show every conceivable gradation be 
tween plain harmony or arpeggio and the most elaborate canon. 

IE Wagnerian polyphony canonic devices are rare except in 

simple moments of anticipation or of communion with 

nature as we have before the rise of the curtain in the Rheingold 

at daybreak in the second act of the Gotterdamtnerung. On 

the other hand, the art of combining contrasted themes crowds 

every other kind of musical texture (except tremolos and 

similar emotional symptoms) into the background, and is itself 

fii> transformed by new harmonic resources, many of which are 

Wagner s own discovery that it may almost be said to constitute 

a form of art. The influence of this upon instrumental 

music is as yet helpful only in forms which break away from the 

limits of the sonata style. Styles which break farther away than 


the omnivorous art of Richard Strauss generally revolt against 
polyphony altogether. That revolt is suicidal, and polyphony 
returns every time a brand-new theory of harmony has pitch- 
forkf d it out. All that is certain is thai the two elements by which 
the music of the future will solve its problem are not those of 
instrumentation and external expression, but phrase-movement 
(or musical paragraphing) and counterpoint. These have always 
been the elements which suffered from neglect or anarchy in 
earlier transition periods, and they have always been the elements 
that gave rationality to the new art to which the transitions led. 


COUNTERPOINT, the art defined by Sir Frederick Gore Ouseley as 
that of combining melodies (Lat. contrapunctus, point counter 
point 9 , note against note ). This neat definition is not quite 
complete. Classical counterpoint is the conveying of a mass of 
harmony by means of a combination of melodies. Thus the three 
melodies combined by Wagner in the Mdstersinger Prelude do 
not make classical counterpoint, for they require a mass of 
accompanying harmony to explain them. That accompaniment 
explains them perfectly and thereby proves itself to be classical 
counterpoint, for its virtue lies in its own good melodic lines, 
both where these coincide with the main melodies and where they 
diverge from them. From this it will be seen that current criti 
cism is always at fault when it worries as to whether the melodies 
are individually audible in a good piece of counterpoint. 

What is always important is the peculiar life breathed into 
harmony by contrapuntal organization. Both historically and 
aesthetically * counterpoint* and * harmony are inextricably 
blended; for nearly every harmonic fact is in its origin a phe 
nomenon of counterpoint. Instrumental music develops har 
mony in unanalysed lumps, as painting obliterates draughtsman 
ship in masses of colour ; but the underlying concepts of counter 
point and draughtsmanship remain. 

In so far as the laws of counterpoint are derived from har 
monic principles that is to say, derived from the properties of 
concord and discord their origin and development are discussed 
in the article HARMONY. In so far as they depend entirely on 
melody they are too minute and changeable to admit of general 
discussion ; and in so far as they show the interaction of melodic 
tnd harmonic principles it is more convenient to discuss them 
under the head of harmony. All that remains, then, for the 
present article is the explanation of certain technical terms. The 
musical examples are printed at the end of the article. 

1. Canto Fermo (Le. plainchant) is a melody in long notes 
given to one voice while others accompany it with quicker 
counterpoints (the term * counterpoint* in this connexion mean 
ing accompanying melodies). In the simplest cases the canto 
fermo has notes of equal length and is unbroken in flow. When 
it is broken up and its rhythm diversified, the gradations between 
counterpoint on a canto fermo and ordinary forms of polyphony, 
or indeed any kind of melody with an elaborate accompaniment, 
tre infinite and insensible. 

2. Double Counterpoint is a combination of melodies so de- 


signed that either can be taken above or below the other. When 
this change of position is effected by merely altering the octave 
of either or both melodies (with or without transposition of the 
whole combination to another key), the artbtic value of the 
device is simply that of the raising of the lower melody to the 
surface. The harmonic scheme remains the same, except in so 
far as some of the chords are not in their fundamental positions, 
while others, not originally fundamental, have become so. But 
double counterpoint may be in other intervals than the octave ; 
that is to say, while one of the parts remains stationary, the other 
may be transposed above or below it by some other interval, 
thus producing an entirely -different set of harmonies. 

Double Counterpoint in the twelfth has thus been made a power 
ful means of expression and variety. The artistic value of this 
device depends not only on the beauty and novelty of the second 
scheme of harmony obtained, but also on the change of melodic 
expression produced by transferring one of the melodies to 
another position in the scale. Two of the most striking illustra 
tions of this effect are to be found in the last chorus of Brahms 5 s 
Triumphlied and in the fourth of his Variations on a Theme of 
Haydn. Inversion in the twelfth also changes the concord of the 
sixth into the discord of the seventh ; a property used with power 
ful effect by Bach in Fugue 16 of Book II of Das WoUtemp&rirte 

Double Counterpoint in the tenth has the property that the 
inverted melody can be given in the new and in the original 
positions simultaneously. 

Double counterpoint in other intervals than the octave, tenth, 
and twelfth is rare, but the general principle and motives for it 
remain the same under all conditions. The two subjects of the 
Confiteor in Bach s B minor Mass are in double counterpoint 
in the octave, eleventh, and thirteenth. And Beethoven s Mass in 
D is full of pieces of double counterpoint, in the inversions of 
which a few notes are displaced so as to produce momentary 
double counterpoint in unusual intervals, obviously with the 
intention of varying the harmony. 

3. Triple , Quadruple, and Multiple Counterpoint. When more 
than two melodies are designed so as to combine in interchange 
able positions, it becomes increasingly difficult to avoid chords 
and progressions of which some inversions are incorrect. Triple 
counterpoint is normally possible only at the octave ; for it will 
be found that if three parts are designed to invert in some other 
interval, this will involve two of them inverting in a third interval 
which will give rise to incalculable difficulty. This makes the 
fourth of Brahms s Variations on a Theme of Haydn appear 
almost miraculous. The whole variation beautifully illustrates 


the melodic expression of inversion at the twelfth ; and during 
eight bars of the second section a third contrapuntal voice ap 
pears, which is afterwards inverted in the twelfth, with natural 
and smooth effect But this involves the inversion of two of the 
counterpoints with each other in the almost impracticable double 
counterpoint in the ninth. Brahms probably did not figure this 
out at all but profited by the luck which goes with genius. 

Quadruple Counterpoint is not rare with Bach ; and the melodi- 
cally invcrtible combination intended by him in the unfinished 
fugue at the end of Die Kunst der Fuge requires one of its themes 
to "invert in the twelfth as against the others. (See my edition 
published by the Oxford University Press.) 

Quintuple Counterpoint is admirably illustrated in the finale of 
Mozart s Jupiter Symphony, in which everything in the suc 
cessive statement and gradual development of the five themes 
conspires to give the utmost effect to their combination in the 
coda. Of course Mozart has not room for more than five of the 
one hundred and twenty possible combinations, and from these 
he, like all the great contrapuntists, selects such as bring fresh 
themes into the outside parts, which are the most clearly audible. 

Sextuple Counterpoint may be found In Bach s great double 
chorus, A T ist dm Heil, in the finale of his Concerto for three 
claviers in C, and probably in other places. 

4. Added Thirds and Sixths. This is merely the full working 
out of the sole purpose of double counterpoint in the tenth, 
namely, the possibility of performing it in Its original and inverted 
positions simultaneously. The Pleni sunt coeli of Bach s B 
minor Mass is written in this kind of transformation of double 
into quadruple counterpoint ; and the artistic value of the device 
is perhaps never so magnificently realized as in the place, at 
bar 84, where the trumpet doubles the bass three octaves and a 
third above while tte alto and second tenor have the counter- 
subjects in close thirds in the middle. 

Almost all other contrapuntal devices are derived from 
the principle of the canon and are fully discussed in the article 


As a training In musical grammar and style, the rhythms of 
sixteenth-century polyphony were early codified Into the five 
species of counterpoint* (with various other species now for 
gotten) and practised by students of composition. The exercise 
should not claim to teach rhythm, but it does teach measure 

The classical treatise on which Haydn and Beethoven were 
trained was Fux s Gradus ad Parnassum (1725). This was super 
seded in the nineteenth century by Cherubmi s, the first of a 
long series of attempts to bring up to date as a dead language 


what should be studied in its original and living form. Dr. R. O. 
Morris has thoroughly exposed the humbug and illustrated me 
true severe scholarship in Contrapuntal Technique in the Sixteenth 
Century (Oxford University Press). 

Ex, I . Double Counterpoint the Stiff, 10^, and 12M 
(a) BACH, Das Wokltemperirte KIttvift t I$l6. 

1 -^ < I 

<1>) Combination of all Inversions; 8ve between 2 <fe 3J 10th between I <fe 3 and 2ft 
4j I2th between I <fc 4. 





thellth andineideni 



EX. III. Quintuple Counterpoint; capable of 120 permutations 

MOZART, Finale of Jupiter* Symphony 

> I i fr V 

1 J. | J , i I I 

I J J ^ 


4 J J J 

r o- 

j. JU 



* M 





r r 


LJ 1 


"T> ~ 

o " 

Ex. IV. Scholastic Exercise in the five Species of Counterpoint 
(The combination of all five tpecie8,herc used to savu space, does not allaw the 2nd species 
tomoveconjunctlyas is desirable. Theuseof two chords ina bar, forbidden by some 
teachers, is good if the words are clearly expressed. The suspension In the yth bar 
(4-3 over a | chord), though frequent in sixteenth century nitric, is considered li 
centious in an exercise of less tbnn 6 parts,) 

<th species (florid) 
2nd species (2 notes to I) 

3rd species (4 notes to i) 

4th species (syncopated) 


let species (note against 






J r i 


^ f 

r r 


* - J 

u j 




FUGUE, the mutual pursuit of voices or parts. It was, up to the 
end of the sixteenth century, if not later, the name applied to two 
art-forms. (A) Fuga ligata was the exact reproduction by one or 
more voices of the statement of a leading part. The reproducing 
voice (comes) was seldom if ever written out, for all differences 
between it and the dux were rigidly systematic; e.g., it was an 
exact inversion, or exactly twice as slow, or to be sung backwards, 
&c., &c. Hence a rule or canon was given, often in enigmatic 
form, by which the comes was deduced from the duac\ and^so the 
term canon became the name for the form itself and is still 
retained. (B) A composition in which the canonic style was culti 
vated without canonic restriction was, in the sixteenth century, 
called fuga ricercata or simply ricercare, a term which is still used 
by Bach as a title for the fugues in Das musikalische Opfer. 

Fugue is a texture the rules of which do not suffice to deter 
mine the shape of the composition as a whole. Schemes such as 
that laid down in Cherubim s treatise, which legislate for the 
shape, are pedagogic fictions ; and such classical tradition as they 
represent is too exclusively Italian to include Bach. Yet, strange 
to say, the Italian tradition in fugue style is represented by hardly 
any strict works at all. Under the general heading of CONTRA 
PUNTAL FORMS many facts concerning fugues are discussed; and 
only a few technical terms remain to be defined here. The 
musical examples are printed at the end of the article. 

1. If during the first entries or exposition of the fugue, the 
counterpoint with which the opening voice accompanies the 
answer is faithfully reproduced as the accompaniment to subse 
quent entries of the subject, it is called a countersubject . Obvi 
ously the first countersubject may continue with a second when 
the subject enters in the third part and so on. The term is also 
applied to new subjects appearing later in the fugue in combina 
tion (immediate or destined) with the original subject. Cheru- 
bini, holding the arbitrary dogma that a fugue cannot have more 
than one subject, applies the term to the less prominent of the 
subjects of what are commonly called double fugues, i.e., fugues 
which begin with two parts and two subjects simultaneously, 
and so also with triple and quadruple fugues. It is remarkable 
that Bach (with only three known exceptions) never writes this 
kind of double fugue, but always introduces his new subjects later. 

2. Episodes are passages separating the entries of the subject. 
There is no reason for distinguishing episodes that occur 
during the exposition from later episodes. Episodes are usually 



developed from the material of the subject and countersubjects ; 
they are, when independent, conspicuously so. 

3. Stretto is the overlapping of subject and answer. A stretto 
maestrale* is one in which the subject survives the overlapping. 
The makers of musical terminology have no answer to the ques 
tion of what a non-magistral stretto may be. 

4. The distinction between real and tonal fugue is a matter 
of detail concerning the answer. A fugal exposition is not in 
tended to emphasize a key-contrast between tonic and dominant. 
Accordingly the answer is (especially in its first notes and in 
points that tend to shift the key) not so much a transposition 
of the subject to the key of the dominant as an adaptation of it 
from the tonic part to the dominant part of the scale or vice 
versa; in short, the answer is as far as possible on the dominant, 
not in the dominant. This is effected by a kind of melodic fore 
shortening on principles of great aesthetic interest but difficult 
to reduce to rules of thumb. The rules as often as not produce 
answers that are exact transpositions of the subject; and so the 
only kind of real fugue (i.e., fugue with an exact answer) which 
could rightly be contrasted with the tonal fugue would be that 
in which the answer ought to be tonal but is not. 

The term answer is usually reserved for those entries of the 
subject that are placed in what may be called the complemen 
tary position of the scale, whether they are tonal or not. Thus 
the order of entries in the exposition of the first fugue of Das 
Wohltemperirte Klavier is subject, answer, answer, subject, a 
departure from the usual rule, according to which subject and 
answer are regularly alternated in the exposition. 

The nature of fugue and of polyphony as building harmony in 
horizontal melodic threads instead of in vertical chordal 
lumps is all summarized by Milton, during no classical period of 
polyphony, but in the chaotic time half-way between the death 
of Frescobaldi and the birth of Bach. 

His volant touch 

Instinct through all proportions low and high 
Fled and pursued transverse the resonant fugue. 

Paradise Lost, Book XT, 11. 561-3 


Ex. I. Stretto- Fugue in 4 parts 

- Subject. C.S= Counter Subject. 0= Diminution. V= Inversion. jj = Variation. 

BACH. Das Wofiltempenrte Klavier. II 9 

Vp n 3A 




J - l^r- 1 * 

* " -^E 


Canonic Episode 



Stretto IL chromatic, with two newcountersubjects 


Stretto III on a variation of the subject 


-T i =- 


Stretto IV by diminution (Note new 
position in scale, with first two 


for rr 

StrcttoV combining 
normal subject with 
diminution freely in- 

, , verted and direct 

L \s*~~^\ I I 

/iu tf t } J i y t i t i ii 


Strctto VI,rcvivingC.S as a result of 




x f 

y. <J 





3 JJ "%".,< 

r r f (o 

j j j j 





* A 

ftjtftpj H 1 I * J 

j J j / 

r r r c pnj-r^: 

t u.iL J - : ^ J 

r f r r f r r-f 


* J J. J *] 2 Jr 

\- r i*{ [ r "^^ 

ft" - ==J 

o notes would have been an 8ve Mght*r if JOths could be stre.f chcd 
on Bach s instruments 

I 1 1 


/v ^ <> * ^ ~ 

f r f f 



Ex. II. Fugue in 3 parts^ith 2 covntenubjects and highly organized episodes 

BACH./?CS Wohltemperirte Ktavier 

A *u - ! 

Triple Counterpoint III 

End of Exposition 


+bm i 

Episode II 


Episode III inverting tlic baea of Ep. II 

Episode IV inrertinr Ep. I in the I2th 

. nq K .B K 

Reimnersion from 




Episode V developing" Ep. II 



b . 




IN its earliest English sense the term harmony is applied to any 
pleasing arrangement of musical sounds; but technically it is 
confined to the science of the simultaneous combination of 
sounds of different pitch, without regard to their quality of tone 
or timbre, a matter which belongs to the province of INSTRUMEN 
TATION (q.v.). The sense of the word harmony is further 
restricted to the study of combinations rather as blocks of sound 
than as textures. The fundamental aesthetic texture of harmony 
is counterpoint (q.v.). 

But while the abstraction of harmony from instrumentation is 
as legitimate and necessary as the abstraction of draughtsmanship 
from colour, the abstraction of harmony from counterpoint cuts 
music adrift from its foundations and leads to no better results 
than the abstraction of sound from sense. Harmony is to classical 
music what perspective is to pictorial art. But visual perspective 
is a science, whereas this musical perspective is wholly an art. 
The present article aims at showing that its laws are true to the 
nature of art and are no mere rules of a game. But we must not 
impute the meaning of its laws to any music earlier than the four 
teenth century, and even in the spacious days of Elizabeth and 
Palestrina there are many things in harmony which do not mean 
what we would mean by them to-day. 


The diatonic major scale (or something very like it) may be 
found by playing eight successive white notes from C to C ori the 
pianoforte. It would be better to accept this as a scientific defini 
tion than to begin the study of harmony with questions like that 
whether the first hen preceded or followed the first egg. The 
interesting fact is that the ancient Greeks showed a latent har 
monic sense by developing the diatonic scale, which has proved 
itself capable of bearing our classical system of harmony. In the 
article MUSIC the origin of scales is touched upon; in the mean 
time we may assume that eggs are eggs without waiting for the 
latest researches of bio-chemistry. 

The one ostensible effort the Greeks made at organizing simul 
taneous notes of different pitch was the practice of magadizing . 
The magadis was a stringed instrument with a bridge that divided 
the strings at two-thirds of their length. The shorter portion of 
the string then sounded an octave higher than the longer. To 
magadize, therefore, was to get the voices of children or women 
to sing in octaves above the voices of men. 


Now we may begin our survey of harmonic combinations with 
two propositions* First, any two notes an octave apart are har 
monically identical. From this we may draw two useful infer 
ences first, that doubling in octaves never was and never will be 
a process of harmonization ; and, secondly, that a combination 
does not change its meaning by the addition or subtraction of an 

The second fundamental proposition is that harmonies are 
built upwards from the bass. This will be denied by some 
theorists ; but the present line of thought is not an a priori theory, 
but the observation of facts. By * low notes we mean sounds pro 
duced by slow vibrations, and by * high notes sounds produced 
by rapid vibrations. 

The harmonic identity of notes an octave apart was a matter 
of physical sensation before the dawn of history. In 1862 Helm- 
holtz explained it and a great many other facts in musical 
aesthetics. He solemnly warned musical theorists against hastily 
applying his scientific results to the art of music, and warned 
them in vain. But we may safely draw some inferences from his 
discovery that the timbre of a note depends upon the selection 
and proportion of a series of overtones in the vibration-ratios of 
aliquot parts of the fundamental note. Thus, a note adds nothing 
to a lower note if it is at the distance of an overtone ; except in 
that if the distance is not exactly one or more octaves, the combi 
nation will assume the harmonic sense of its difference from an 
octave; thus, a twelfth is equivalent to a fifth. 

Distances of pitch are called intervals. They are reckoned 
(numerically and inclusive of both notes) up a diatonic scale. 
From the fundamental (or tonic) note of a major scale (as from 
C on the white notes of the pianoforte) all intervals within that 
scale are major, and the fourth, fifth, and octave are called per 
fect. Intervals a semitone less than major are called minor, 
except in the case of perfect intervals, which become imperfect 
or diminished when reduced by a semitone. Otherwise a dimin 
ished interval is a semitone less than minor. An augmented 
interval is a semitone greater than major. The terms augmented 
and diminished should be applied only to chromatic intervals, 
that is to say, to intervals of which one note is foreign to the scale 
of reference. There is in every scale one fourth that is greater 
than perfect (F to B in the scale of C) and one imperfect fifth 
(B to F). This diatonic enlarged fourth is called the tritone. 
Intervals are inverted by raising the lower note to a higher 
octave; thus the imperfect fifth is the inversion of the tritone 

Helmholtz s discovery of the nature of timbre proves that cer 
tain aspects of harmony are latent in nature. Conversely, the 


art of harmony constantly produces effects of timbre apart from 
those of the particular instruments in use. But musical elements 
interact in ways that quickly carry musical aesthetics into regions 
far removed from any simple relation between harmony and 
timbre. What acoustics can tell us of concord and discord is not 
only inadequate for our musical experience, but contrary to it. 
Acoustics tell us that the rapid beats that distress the ear in 
harsh combinations are due to the periodic reinforcements and 
weaknesses that occur as the waves get in and out of phase with 
each other. When these beats are so rapid as to produce a note 
of their own, this resultant tone may or may not be pleasant; the 
painful stage of beats is that in which they are noticeable, as a 
flickering light is noticeable. Combinations that are out of beating 
distance may set up beats between the upper note and the octave 
harmonic of the other. On this criterion, thirds and sixths, 
especially the minor sixth, are rougher than many combinations 
that rank as discords, or than some that have never been digested 
in classical harmony, such as the seventh overtone. 

The art of music had not attained to the simplest scheme for 
dealing with discords before it traversed the acoustic criterion 
in every direction. It became a language in which sense dictated 
what should be accepted in sound. The minor sixth, as the 
inversion of the major third, occurs in many positions of what 
has come to be the most fixed chord in music, the major triad. 
On the other hand, a discord beyond beating-distance will have 
no beats if it is produced in a timbre that has no octave overtones ; 
but if its sense has come to be that of a discord, its timbre will 
not make it a concord. 

The theorists of the sixteenth century shrewdly regarded the 
major triad as really a chord of sk notes, in the ratios of 1,2,3,4,5,6, 
which they called the Sestina : 


Long before this natural phenomenon had been recognized, 
music had organized many other elements into its language, and 
harmony had become (what it has ever since remained, apart 
from experiments) counterpoint. This arose, slowly and pain 
fully, out of devices diametrically opposed to it. The organum 
or diaphonia of the tenth century amounted to a magadizing in 
all the perfect concords, i.e., in fourths or fifths doubled by 
octaves, thus 



Its intention was that of a glorified unison and it survives, 
unheard except as artificial timbre, in the guise of a shrill aura 
above the notes of the full organ when that instrument is using 
the m&$t ancient of its registers, the mixture stops. (Some ob 
servers have reported the present practice of something like 
diaphonia in remote parts of Japan.) 

The problem of counterpoint was attacked in two ways. First 
there was a slow evolution through experiments in ornamenting 
one or more voices of an organum. This gradually took shape 
as the art of discant, and was slow to move far from the founda 
tion of parallel perfect concords. On the other hand, a violent 
frontal attack was made by the motets of the thirteenth and four 
teenth centuries, which had no connexion with the sublime 
motet-form of sixteenth-century Church music, but consisted in 
the simultaneous singing of several melodies, independent and 
perhaps pre-existing; the combination being rough-hewn into a 
harmony justified by the rule of marche, ou je t assomme. The 
rough-hewing consisted in contriving that the perfect concords 
should be conspicuous at the strong accents, on which condition 
the rest of the harmony could take care of itself. We are apt to 
misread our documents by forgetting that the note which is now 
double the length of the longest note in normal use originally 
deserved its name of * breve*. A Hungarian band produces a 
general harmonic effect more like that of Brahms s Hungarian 
Dances than like any less classical music; but if the details of the 
Hungarian ornamentation and part-writing were written in 
breves, semibreves, and minims we should find them remarkably 
like medieval counterpoint. 


The first matter of principle that emerged from the chaos was 
that if the parallel movement of perfect concords was right, 
everything else was wrong. A few compositions show an evenly- 
balanced conflict of opposing principles. Our wonderful English 
rota Sumer is icumen in* sounds to us like a tuneful six-part 
double canon spoilt (or rendered quaint) by numerous consecu 
tive fifths. Its contemporaries were more likely to have regarded 
it as a beautiful scheme cf perfect concords spoilt or illuminated 


by dangerous licences. There was no room for prolonged doubt 
as to where the path of progress and freedom lay. And if the 
basis of harmony was to be independent melody, then one of the 
main cares of the composer was to prevent his independent 
melodies from lapsing into duplications. Fifths and octaves will 
still form (as they do at the present day) cardinal points in every 
chord that is dwelt upon; but no two voices can double each 
other for two consecutive octaves or fifths without dissolving 
their integrity in a false resonance. 

As to discords the criterion ceased to be acoustical. After 
centuries of trial and error, musicians accepted thirds and* sixths 
as concords; and all discords became equal to one another in 
mildness when they occurred as unaccented passing-notes pro 
ceeding by diatonic conjunct notes between one concord and the 
next. Polyphony made musical accents far stronger than those 
of speech ; and so the behaviour of accented discords was more 
restricted. The accented discord must be prepared* by first 
appearing as a concord. It then becomes a discord by being 
held or suspended while the other voices move against it; after 
which it must resolve by a step downwards. Upward resolu 
tions are harsh and of complex import, intelligible only in a later 
system, and so are discords that skip. 

Ex. 3 shows passing-notes (marked *) moving up and down 
between concords: 

In Ex. 4 the tied C is a suspension, prepared by having begun 
as an octave, becoming a discord by colliding as a fourth against 
a fifth, and resolving by stepping down to a third. 


Four three-note chords attained the rank of concords. (Two 
of them were only inversions of the other two.) First, of course, 
there was the major triad, the upper three notes (4, 5, 6) of the 
sestina (Ex. i). All doublings and differences of octave are 
negligible in the distribution of a chord so long as they do not 
bring its middle or upper notes into the bass. All the following 
examples are concords identical with the sestina and with each 
other, though the positions that leave two parts low at a distance 


from the upper parts, or that double the third, are acoustically as 
rough as many a discord. Positions (d) and (e) could be justified 
only in circumstances of great polyphonic or instrumental 

Ex, 5 





The essential intervals are those of position (a) and comprise 
a perfect fifth (G-D), a major third from the bass (G-B), and a 
minor third above (B-D). 

Now in listening to polyphony the mind can appreciate the 
parts two at a time; and the sixteenth-century theorists avoid 
reasoning as if the mind could do more. They were probably 
right as well as cautious ; nor is it necessary that the mind should 
attempt more. For any fault in the aggregate of the richest 
polyphony must be a fault between two parts. If it concerns 
more, then it is more than a single fault; and if there are no 
faults, the ear enjoys the faultless aggregate whether it can dis 
tinguish the parts or not. Accordingly the question arises : will 
the ear resent an aggregate which corresponds as such to nothing 
in nature, but which contains no intervals that have not already 
been accepted in the sestina? In other words, can we treat as a 
concord a triad which puts the minor third below the major? 


The history of harmony not only answers this in the affirma 
tive, but shows that the contrast between this artificial concord 
and the major triad is essential to the formation of a flexible 
musical language. Some theorists, fascinated by the ways in 
which minor harmonies behave like major harmonies reversed, 
have invented schemes according to which the roots* of minor 
chords are their top notes. The way in which minor chords 
happen in music does not support any theorv which makes Ex. 6 
anything other than an artificial alteration of Ex. 5, with the same 
entirely fundamental behaviour of the same bass-note in every 
relevant musical context. The artificiality of the chord is not 
arbitrary or conventional ; it is of the very nature of art and is 


far more self-explanatory than most of the phenomena of spoken 

Both the major and the minor triad are found in inverted 
positions. An inversion is not a reversal, but a position in which 
one of the upper notes of the normal chord has become the bass- 
note. When the third of a triad is in the bass we have the chord 
of the sixth, thus: 


And now arises a phenomenon wholly unintelligible to acous 
tics and unpredictable by theory. The once perfect concord of 
the fourth becomes a discord when taken from the bass. Be 
tween any higher parts it is a concord ; but from the bass it will 
never do except as a passing-note or a properly prepared and 
duly resolved suspension. The reason for this is purely contin 
gent It so happens that practically every context in which an 
accented fourth occurs from the bass implies a fifth above it, as 
in Ex. 4. If instead of the fifth you substitute a sixth you will 
obtain a chord which is theoretically a second inversion of a triad. 

But no amount of logic will persuade the ear that this sixth is 
more than another appoggiatura or leaning-note demanding as 
urgently to resolve on the fifth as the fourth demands to resolve 
on the third. The fact is an accident of far-reaching importance, 
but as unamenable to grammatical logic as the reason why a 
modern English poet should not apply the epithet blooming to 
his lady s cheek. Find a context for a fourth from the bass which 
does not imply the f 3 of Ex. 4, and that fourth will cease to be a 
discord. But it will be some strange and pregnant language, not 
to be taken in vain; like the cry at the beginning and end of the 
Allegretto of Beethoven s Seventh Symphony. And even there 
the ear is, at the outset, expecting the true bass and remember 
ing it at the end. 

The harmonic materials of sixteenth-century polyphony are, 
then, the major and minor triads, their inversions as chords of 3, 
and the discords of the second and seventh and (from the bass) 
the fourth, treated either as suspensions or as passing-notes. The 
scale In which the flux of polyphony moved through transient 


discord from concord to concord was the diatonic scale preserved 
from ancient Greece and handed down directly from the Greco- 
Roman or Ptolemaic system to the Church music of the Middle 
Ages, doubtless with conflation from Jewish sources. 


Tonality is the element which groups a succession of musical 
sounds intelligibly round some centre. With the development of 
polyphony, tonality becomes as important as the concord-discord 
system itself; and, indeed, that system could not have existed 
without tonal guidance at every point. Discord is transition; 
concord is finality. The task of tonality is to organize various 
degrees of finality among concords. The first decision made by 
pure polyphony (but revoked in a later age) was that the minor 
triad, though it might be a concord, could never be final. A bare 
fifth or even a bare octave would be more acceptable, as being 
a potential major triad. The final chord, whether complete or 
not, requires to be approached by chords in a well-defined rela 
tion to it. Two types of full close, or cadence, thus came into 
existence the authentic, in which the final chord is preceded by 
a major chord whose bass is a fourth below or a fifth above the 
final bass, and the plagal, in which the penultimate chord is 
based a fourth above or a fifth below the final, and is major or 
minor according to the mode : 

The modes were named after those of ancient Greece, wrongly 
identified in particular; and theory clung to terms derived from 
non-harmonic notions long after the practice of composers had 
become inveterately harmonic. An aesthetically correct account 
of Palestrina s tonality is much more easily achieved by a descrip 
tion in terms of Beethoven s key-system than by any attempt to 
refer it to the orthodox modal theory. 

According to the finally prevalent statement of that theory 
there were ideally fourteen modes, two based on each degree of 
the diatonic scale. Practically the modes based on B were impos 
sible, as the diatonic fifth from B is imperfect. The numbers of 
these imaginary modes, XI and XII, were piously retained for 
them, together with the name of Locrian. The authentic modes 
ran from the * final or fundamental note to its octave. Each 
authentic mode was allied to a c plagal * mode, having the same 
final, but lying a fourth lower. This is an important distinction 


in purely melodic music and can be clearly recognized in folk 
songs. Thus, The Bluebell of Scotland* is authentic, while 
Auld Lang Syne is, except for an isolated top note, typically 
plagal. In polyphonic music the difference between an authentic 
mode and its plagal companion is a vague matter settled by the 
position of the tenor voice. 

The word * modulation was used in the theory of modal music 
to denote the formation of full closes on other notes than the 
final. The sixteenth-century composer developed a perfect sense 
of key around his cadences, and he knew very well what he was 
doing when he avoided stimulating that sense elsewhere. He 
selected his subordinate cadences on no more cogent principle 
than the avoidance of monotony. He was like a painter whose 
draughtsmanship is faultless in faces and figures, but who sees 
no objection to implying a different horizon for each detail in his 
picture. And harmony has no such relation to external nature as 
can justify critics in calling modal tonality archaic. Palestrina s 
tonality is one of the most mature and subtle things in music, and 
later developments cannot lessen its truth to the nature of art. 

Here are the twelve modes which theoretically underlie the 
tonality of the sixteenth century. Every composition was written 
in one of these modes, and its incidental modulations were not 
regarded as visits to another mode, though that is aesthetically 
what they really were. The diagram gives the name of the authen 
tic position above each scale, and the plagal name and position 
below. The white note is the final. The imaginary Locrian 
modes (with B as final) are omitted. 


J Dorian \ HI \ Pkry^i^n I 

II { Sypodorian j jy | Hypophrygian 

\ 1 Lydian 

^ VI1 1 Mixotydian \ 

[ Hypolydian \ 

" * *lZL* 9 # a * } 

[ I 

!J 1 Aeolian 

* L XIIJ 1 Ionian \ 

| Hypoacotian j 

II _ ^, 3 

vttr* rr 

In practice these modes are not always easy to ascertain. The 
B natural in Lydian tonality is so difficult to handle that the 
great masters almost always flattened it permanently and put the 


flat as a key-signature, thus producing an Ionian mode trans 
posed, or plain modern F major. (All modes could be thus writ 
ten a fourth higher; and apart from this, the actual pitch of per 
formance was determined by convenience and was bound by no 
fixed standard.) The Phrygian mode cannot form an authentic 
cadence; and its plagal cadence (shown in Ex. lob) sounds to our 
ears like a half-close on the dominant of A minor. This is quite 
final enough for modal harmony ; but a very slight impulse may 
make Palestrina reverse the .cadence and so end with a chord 
of A. This does not make the mode Aeolian, and, though the 
Aeolian mode looks as if it was the origin of our minor scale, true 
Aeolian polyphony is of all harmonic styles the most remote 
from modern music. The Dorian and Phrygian modes are much 
nearer to our notions of a well-grounded minor key. The Ionian 
mode is identical with our major key; and Mixolydian tonality 
is like a major key with either an excessive emphasis on the sub- 
dominant or a top-heavy and finally prevalent dominant. 

Extraneous sharps constantly come into modal music through 
the necessity of providing major penultimate chords in authentic 
cadences, as well as final major thirds for minor modes. Flats 
were no less often necessary to correct the tritone fourth between 
F and B (hence the shape of the flat, and Morley s naming of it 
as the B clef). The rules governing these accidentals were so well 
known that singers resented the providing of the signs where the 
need of such musica ficta was self-evident. On the other hand, 
many of the most mystical harmonies, such as the opening of 
Palestrina s Stabat Mater, were the gifts of creative imagination 
equally remote from modal theory and modern tonality. Brahms 
understood modal harmony much better than the critics who 
blame him for violating the modes of folk-songs by not setting 
them in a kind of musical Wardour Street. If you want to set 
old tunes without using leading-notes and changes of key you 
should not harmonize them at all. 


The strict theory of suspensions and passing-notes was diversi 
fied by many idioms which grew up charmingly and illogically. 
Logic itself admitted harshnesses which the pure taste of Vic 
toria and Palestrina rejected without waiting for the judgement 
of theorists. For instance, our glorious Tudor masters shared 
with many other composers outside the Hispano-Roman orbit a 
keen intellectual pleasure in violent collisions between a major 
and a minor third over the same bass ; some third being essential 
to the harmony and each of the conflicting voices having un 
answerable reasons for its own version. But these * false rela- 


tions , as we now call them, are both archaic and provincial, for 
all their logic. The overlapping of harmonic idea* produced 
many results both more pleasant and more fruitful. 

Here is an extreme case in which the ordinary rules of musica 
ficta give results which strain the nineteenth-century theorist 
and compel him to discover double roots and other cabalistic 


The bass singer, knowing his rules of musica ficta y would be 
insulted at such a * donkey s mark as a flat to the B for the pur 
pose of correcting the inadmissible tritone, comprised between 
F and B. The treble singer would automatically sharpen his G, 
under the impression that he was making a close on A ; and so 
the augmented sixth, one of the most complex discords known 
to Bach and Mozart, did frequently occur in sixteenth-century 
performances and was not always regarded as a blunder. In 
Ex. 12 the treble singer would happen to be mistaken in sharpen 
ing the G, for it is not really part of a close on to A. The close 
is on to D, and the middle singer would recognize its leading- 
note without the aid of * donkey s marks *. For our Boeotian age 
we require a flat to the B in the bass and sharps for the penulti 
mate Cs in the middle part. If the sixteenth-century composer 
intended to produce an augmented sixth, he would provide 
the soprano with a sharp to the G in order to reassure the 

But the beginning of the seventeenth century saw a musical 
revolution far beyond the scope of any accumulation of licences 
on the polyphonic basis. The feeble efforts of the first Monodists, 
Jacopo Peri, Emilio Cavalieri, and other pioneers of opera and 
solo vocal declamation with lute or keyboard accompaniment had 
already drawn attention to the value of any and every chord as 
a thing in itself, apart from its position in a polyphonic flux, when 
the masterful spirit of Monteverdi gave to the new movement all 
the power of his intellect and rhetorical instinct. Only a poly- 
phonist can appreciate the real aesthetic values of monody, and 
Monteverdi was a vigorous though decadent polyphonist, both 
before and after he took up monody. But not even his mastery 
could organize the chaos that overwhelmed the art of music when 
the limitations of the golden age had been broken down. For one 


thing, pure polyphony dealt only with unaccompanied voices. 
When instruments were treated as important elements in serious 
music the polyphonic hypothesis became inadequate and several 
new sets of laws had to be found by experiment. A century was 
no long time for such a task. 

Monteverdi s chief innovation is popularly said to be the in 
vention of the dominant seventh and of other so-called essen 
tial discords. An essential discord is merely a discord which 
through custom has ceased to require preparation; and to attri 
bute its invention to any particular author is like naming the 
first writer who used a metaphor instead of a full-blown simile. 
Most, if not all, of the discords that have become essential are 
based on that part of the key which we call the dominant ; for the 
reason that all harmonic phenomena gravitate towards the full 
close as inevitably as all verbal statements gravitate round the 
subject-predicate-copula group. The dominant of a key is the 
bass of the penultimate chord of an authentic cadence. Opposed 
to the dominant there is another centre, the subdominant, which 
supports the penultimate chord of a plagal cadence. A key has, 
then, three cardinal points : the key-note, or tonic ; the dominant, 
the chief means of orientation in modulations; and the sub- 
dominant, whose function we should understand much more 
readily if we called it the anti- dominant. 

The chief and not wholly unconscious aim of the successors of 
Monteverdi (that is to say, of the composers of the mid-seven 
teenth century) was to establish the tonic-dominant-subdominant 
orientation of major and minor keys in a system which could 
digest essential discords. A modal composition visited other 
modes than its own whenever it made a cadence other than on its 
own final ; but it did not establish itself in the visited modes; and 
still less did it go into regions that produced its own mode at a 
different pitch. 

Throughout the seventeenth century the various streams of 
music were trickling gently towards a mighty lake, from which 
all later music takes its origin. Alessandro Scarlatti is now less 
known to us than his wayward son, Domenico, whose harpsi 
chord music is in a genre by itself. But Alessandro, more than 
any other composer in history, deserves to be considered the 
founder of a great classical tradition. He is called the founder of 
the Neapolitan school. And classical tonality is primarily Neapo 
litan. It recognizes only two modes the major and the minor. 
The loss of modal subtleties is more than compensated by the 
powerful dramatic and architectonic values of clearly-established 
keys with a capacity for modulation to similar keys in relations of 
clear harmonic significance. 

The following eight bars from the end of the first recitative 


in Handel s Messiah, epitomize several normal features of the 
system : 

Ex. IE The voice of one that crieth in the wilderness* 

Before discussing this example, we must further explain the 
system of major and minor keys. Here are the first six degrees 
of the scale of C major (which, being without sharps and flats, 
is taken as the standard key) with a triad, or common chord, on 
each. The notes of these triads are all within the key. The 
functional names of each degree are given below, and the number 
above in Roman figures. Capital figures indicate major chords; 
and small figures minor. 


* a. i u II ii I! i u Jj 

Tonic Super-tonic Mediant Sub-dominant Dominant Sub-mediant 

The seventh degree, or leading note, bears no common chord 
within the key, for its triad has an imperfect fifth. The sub- 
mediant is so called because the subdominant is not conceived as 
the note below the dominant, but as an anti-dominant, a fifth 
below the tonic, so that there is a submediant as a third between 
it and the tonic, just as there is a mediant as a third between the 
tonic and dominant 

Another most important gain of the new tonality as against the 
modal system is that the minor mode can now so firmly support 
its tonic by its other chords that a minor tonic chord becomes 
convincing as a final. The contrast between major and minor 
keys acquires a high emotional value. We must clearly under 
stand that the minor mode, like the minor triad, is identified with 
the major mode on the same tonic. The so-called relative major 
is one of five equally direct relations to a minor tonic and the 
* relative minor is one of five co a major tonic. The minor mode 
of C is not (as the Tonic Sol-fa system will have it) A minor, but 
C minor. 

In the minor mode a strict confinement to cardinal harmonies 
produces a melodically awkward augmented second between the 
flat sixth and the necessarily sharp leading note. Accordingly the 
external form of the scale varies and the variations have har 
monic results. Ex. 15 shows the so-called harmonic and melodic 
minor scales. 


Ex 15 

Harmonic Melodic. 

The melodic form avoids the augmented second by sharpening 
the sixth in ascent and flattening both sixth and seventh in 


A fundamental proposition in the aesthetics of tonality is that 
key-relationship subsists between two tonics only and has nothing 
to do with the intervention of a third tonic. Observe the word 
tonic; the proposition commits us to no specified mode on either 
side of the relation. 

Direct relationship exists between two keys when the tonic 
chord of one is among the common chords of the other. If our 
first key is major, we simply identify its related keys with its 
common-chords other than its tonic; thus Ex. 14 shows that 
C major is directly related to five keys, D minor the supertonic, 
E minor the mediant, F major the subdominant, G major the 
dominant, and A minor the submediant. 

The relatives of a minor tonic have to be discovered by a con 
verse process, for the minor scale is so unstable that the evidence 
of its common chords is conflicting and misleading. For instance, 
the dominant chord of a minor key is major. But you will receive 
a shock if you try answering the subject of Bach s G minor Fugue, 
Book I, No. 1 6, of Das Wohltemperirte Klamer in D major in 
stead of D minor ! Evidently the only directly related dominant 
key to a minor tonic is also minor. This being so, the sub- 
dominant must be minor also, for it is the converse of the 
dominant, the key to which the tonic is dominant. In order to 
reach it the tonic chord must become major, a pathetic effect 
constantly to be found near the end of classical slow movements 
in minor keys. 

The other relations of a minor tonic are converse to the rela 
tions of a major tonic. Thus, if D minor be the supertonic of 
C major, we must find a name for the relation of C major to D 
minor. We run up the scale of D minor and find that C is its flat 
seventh. Similarly, if E minor is the mediant of C major, then 
C major is the flat sixth or submediant of E minor; and, lastly, 
if A minor is the submediant or relative minor of C major, then 
C major is the mediant or relative major of A minor. And so the 
relations of a minor tonic may be obtained by reading Ex. 14 
backwards, with A minor as the key of reference. Transposing 


Ex. 14 so that vl becomes C minor, we obtain the following five 
relations : B flat major the flat seventh, A flat major the submed- 
iant, G minor the dominant, F minor the subdominant, E flat 
the mediant (or relative major). 

It is now easy to describe the drift of the Handelian chords 
of Ex. 13. The key-signature is that of E major, a key that 
differs only in pitch and in minute instrumental technicalities 
from all other major keys. (Ideas as to the characters of keys in 
themselves are entirely subjective, and no agreement is to be 
expected about them.) The first chord is a common chord of B 
major, the dominant of E. In its present context it represents 
not only the dominant chord, but the dominant key, for it happens 
to be the close of a passage in B major. The next chord is still 
a dominant chord, but effects a return to E, being the last inver 
sion of the dominant seventh thereof. The seventh is in the 
bass, and duly resolves on G sharp in the next chord, a first in 
version of E (bar 3). Handel would have had less scruple than 
many later writers in letting the bass skip down to E, so long as 
the G sharp was somewhere in the chord, but here he is making 
his bass regularly descend the scale. The next step, F sharp, 
supports another dominant chord, that of C sharp minor (vi 
from our tonic) in its last inversion, like that in bar 2. It also 
resolves in bar 5. Bar 6 passes to the subdominant (A major) and 
bar 7 establishes that key in a manner to remove all doubt by 
striking its subdominant chord, which is wholly outside the range 
of E major. The natural result is the full close in A major in 
bar 8. Such is the normal way of using key-relations in the 
essentially Neapolitan art of Handel; and all the intensity of 
Bach s thought adds nothing to its essential elements. When 
Bach modulates more widely his purpose is, like that of Handel 
in Thy rebuke hath broken his heart*, not to explain, but to 

Another great change had to enlarge the art of music before 
key-relationships could attain their full meaning; but this time 
the change was accomplished without a period of chaos. It was 
like Kant s Copernican revolution in philosophy; and its more 
general aspects are discussed in the articles INSTRUMENTATION, 

Its first effect on harmony was shown in a drastic simplifica 
tion of style ; for music had now become dramatic, and there was 
no musical resource of more cardinal dramatic importance than 
changes of key. Consequently the baldest facts of key-relation 
became dramatically significant, out of all proportion to their 
direct intellectual import. A musical historian can make no 
graver blunder than to mistake Mozart s and Haydn s harmonic 
simplicity for an intellectual simplicity. To prolong a prepara- 


tory harping on the dominant of a new key is equivalent to 
working up the entry of an important person in a drama. 

A hundred years before, the problem which Alessandro Scar 
latti solved in his youth might be described as that of finding the 
dominant. The simple-seeming Mozart is, as often as not, mock 
ing us with the riddle When is a dominant not a dominant?* 
Musical perspective has gained another new depth in its com 
mand of planes. A modulation may establish a new key firmly 
enough for an incident in the course of a melody, but not nearly 
firmly enough for a new stage in the whole scheme. Conversely, 
a passage which at first sounded like vehement emphasis on the 
local dominant may, long afterwards, when the dominant key 
has been firmly established, be given note for note at the same 
pitch with a triumphantly tonic effect. And the dimensions over 
which Mozart s tonality maintains its coherence are enormous ; 
sometimes almost on Beethoven s largest scale. 

Music, which in Palestrina s age was a linked sweetness long 
drawn out , with the links extending only from one accent to the 
next, had by the beginning of the eighteenth century trained the 
mind to measure harmonic relations over melodic periods of 
eight or more bars ; and the mighty polyphony of Bach and Han 
del broke down the melodic regularity, but did not greatly enlarge 
the range over which the listener must depend on his memory. 
These masters can visit the same key several times in a composi 
tion without inciting the listener to notice the fact either as a 
purpose or as a tautology. But Mozart, Haydn, and Beethoven 
build confidently on a knowledge of the exact effect that a modu 
lation in one passage will have on a passage five or even ten 
minutes later. Beethoven s enormous architectural and dramatic 
power enabled him to discover and command the whole range of 
key-relationship theoretically possible within any definite mean 
ing of the -term. There is no limit to the possible range of modula 
tion, as Bach took pains to show ; but the unity of the chromatic 
scale* is a feeble dogma on which to base the notion that Beet 
hoven ought to have treated all keys as equally related, instead 
of drawing the line where he did. Great artists discover facts 
and resources, not licences and vagaries. 

Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Brahms, and Wagner 
all agree in one simple and cogent method of extending the direct 
or natural series of key-relations. They merely changed the 
modes of either or both numbers of a directly related pair. Cer 
tain reservations were necessary ; the supertonic of a major key 
which is quite happy as a minor neighbour completely fails to 
sound like a major key in its own right and behaves merely like 
dominant preparation for the ordinary dominant An analyst 
who imputes the key of A major to bars 19-24 of the first move- 


ment of Beethoven s G major Sonata, op. 14, no. 2, when he 
hears them in their context, should not attempt to discuss key- 
relationship until he can discriminate between a passage on the 
dominant and a passage in the dominant. 

What is true of one key-relationship will be true of its con 
verse : the key of the flat seventh refuses to assert itself as a real 
key in relation to a major tonic. A dozen accessory chords in D 
major would not make the seventh bar of Ex. 13 amount to more 
than the subdominant chord in A major until they included a 
chord of G. The testimony of such openings as those of Beet 
hoven s Sonatas, opp. 31, no. i, and 53, is emphatic. 

In the rare cases where such keys do not thus explain them 
selves away, their effect is startling. (Ineptitudes may be 
neglected.) The passage that follows the return of the main 
theme in the first movement of Beethoven s Eroica Symphony 
is one of the supreme dramatic strokes in music. The hard- won 
tonic of E flat gives way first to F major and then to the opposite 
extreme, a third lower, D flat. Another third down brings us 
safely to our own dominant chord. 

One other type of key-relation is derived from a special form 
of the minor scale, in which the lower tetrachord is made to 
correspond with the upper: 

The first inversion of its flat supertomc chord is known as the 
Neapolitan sixth; and the Neapolitan key-relations are the flat 
supertonic major, equally related (as the E natural in Ex. 16 
shows) to a major and a minor tonic, and the converse relation 
of the sharp seventh. A minor tonic has no direct converse rela 
tion, for the Neapolitan chord is major. But, as Schubert shows 
at the end of the first movement of his D minor Quartet and in 
the slow movement of his String Quintet in C, an indirect rela 
tion may be established by making the Neapolitan chord minor. 

We must beware of imputing relationship to keys separated 
by discursive modulation unless we have strong collateral evi 
dence from the key-functions of a musical design. Tonality and 
form are inseparable; and great composers do not even expect 
the tonic to be recognized after long wanderings without some 
such conclusive evidence as the return of the opening theme. 

On pages 62-64 are two tables, indicating by Roman figures 
the whole scheme of key-relationships, first from a major tonic, 
secondly from a minor tonic. Flats indicate degrees flattened in 
comparison with those of the major scale of reference; and in 


Table B sharps are used to distinguish cases where the key is a 
semitone above the corresponding degree of a minor scale. Thus, 
if C be the tonic, E major will be represented by III in Table A, 
and by III # in Table B. In either table, the figure iiij? would, 
reckoned from C, be E flat minor. 

The characters of key-relationships are solid facts, and they 
probably have some bearing on the various subjective ideas which 
many music-lovers entertain of the character of keys in them 
selves ; for nobody can name a key without being aware of its 
distance from C major. Be this as it may, it is an undisputed 
fact that modulations in a dominant direction have an effect of 
action, while modulations towards the subdominant have an 
effect of retirement. With a major tonic the three remaining 
directly-related keys are minor, a contrast which outweighs their 
other distinctive characters. To move from a major tonic to the 
relations of its tonic minor, such III [7 and VI b, is to pass into 
deep and warm shadow. Such modulations form characteristic 
purple patches in the course of Mozart s second subjects. 

Changes from a major tonic to the major mode of its mediant 
or submediant are extremely bright. Haydn, who explored all 
the range of tonality in contrasts between whole movements, or 
between a minuet and its trio, is very fond of using them in 
this way in his later works. Beethoven incorporates them in the 
most highly-organized functions of his sonata-movements. The 
Neapolitan relations appearing once as a paradox in Haydn s 
last Pianoforte Sonata, are completely rationalized by Beethoven, 
Schubert, and Brahms. The flat supertonic casts a deep warm 
shadow over the tonal scheme, and becomes sheer blackness in 
the rare cases where it is changed to minor. Conversely, the 
move a semitone downwards from the tonic (to VII $ or vii$) is 
a move into mysterious brightness. Other extreme depths are 
sounded in the double changes from a major tonic to iiib or vi[? ; 
which (with convenient change of notation) may be found in 
Beethoven s Sonata, op. 106, and Schubert s last Pianoforte 
Sonata. The converse relations 111$ and VI $ from a minor tonic 
are very bright; the only really bright contrasts that the minor 
key-relations possess. Beethoven s C minor Concerto shows 
111$, and his F minor Quartet shows VI J. 


The great classical tradition cares little for the study of chords 
as things in themselves ; and the art of harmony perishes under 
a discipline that separates its details from counterpoint and its 
larger issues from form. An excellent means of mastering a 
good harmonic vocabulary is to practise the filling-out of classi- 


cal figured basses at the keyboard; in other words, to exercise the 
function of the continuo-player who, from the time of Monte 
verdi to that of Beethoven s organ-teachers, used to supply 
accompaniments from a bass with figures indicating the gist of 
the chords required. Fluency in such a practice does not of itself 


A. From Major Tome. 

I Direct Relationships 

i ii IV V vi 

through i 

i ! 

Indirect through both 
j and the second key 

iv v 

Indirect through the 
second key 


Doubly indirect \ 
tKrough the \ 
former infli- \ 
reel key/! \ 

j4 v ^b 




VII and vii 







IV#andiv#= Vband v[j 

,and all enharmonic syno- 
\nymns of other keys 


II Vllbandviib. 

confer the ability to produce original harmony, but it means that 
music can be read with understanding. It is an empiric craft. 
But it had the misfortune to become a science, when, early in 
the eighteenth century, Rameau discovered the theory of the 
fundamental bass. This is an imaginary bass (best when most 
imaginary) that gives * roots* to all the essential chords of the 
music above it. The conception is true only of the most obvious 
harmonic facts ; beyond them it is as vain as the attempt to ascer 
tain your neighbour s dinner from a spectrograph of the smoke 
from his chimney. The augmented sixth which arose so inno 
cently in Ex. 12 requires a double root. The first chord of 
Beethoven s Sonata in E flat, op. 31, no. 3, is an eleventh* with 


its root on the dominant in flat defiance of the fact that the 
dominant is the most inconceivable bass-note in the whole pas 
sage until it arrives as a climax in the sixth bar. But musical 
fundamentalists refuse to look six bars ahead. 

Philipp Emanuel Bach, in conversation with Dr. Burney (The 


B. From Minor Tonic. 

Direct Relationships 

nib iv v vibviib 

Indirect through both 
I and the second key 

i, i i 

i . 

through f 

1ii# vi$ 

Indirect through the 
second key 


... , i 
nb Vl b / 

Doubly indirect 
through; the 
former indi 
rect keyp 







VI I ^/and viiff 

,/- " 


IV# and iv# =/ \ 

?\j and vb and all enharmonic 
synonyms of other keys 

Ambiguous i 

i II vib 

Present State of Music in Germany, &c.), said that Rameau s 
theory was * childish, for it reduces all music to full closes . This 
is perfectly true, and the theory did no harm to eighteenth- 
century French music, which eschewed long sentences and sel 
dom strayed far from the regions of the full close. But in 
England Rameau s doctrine raged unchecked by taste or com 
mon sense, and culminated in Dr. Day s famous application of 
homoeopathy to the art of music. This would have mattered less 
if Dr. Day had not gained the ear of the greatest English aca 
demic musicians of mid- Victorian times. As Sir Charles Stanford 
aptly says (Musical Composition), Day s theory * irrigated a wide 
area of low-lying ground, and we are still suffering from the 


effects of its miasma*. The remedy lies in cultivating vivid 
impressions of the actual relations between counterpoint and 
harmony in detail, between tonality and form in general, and 
between key-relations and chromatic chords. To this end, 
thorough-bass should be cultivated not on paper but at the key 
board, with passages (graded according to difficulty) from the 
continues of Bach s Cantatas and Mozart s Church music. 


Even in pure sixteenth-century polyphony the ideal diatonic 
scale implies distinctions of intonation beyond the capacity of 
any mechanical instrument with a limited number of notes. In 
the Ionian mode or major scale of C the interval C-D is not 
the same kind of whole tone as the interval D-E, but differs as 
8:9 from 9:10. 

The normal position for the supertonic is a major tone (8 :g) 
above the tonic ; but even so common a discord as the dominant 
seventh will set up a conflict, the dominant requiring its fifth to 
be as 9 :8 above the tonic, while the seventh will want to make a 
true minor third from a supertonic in the position of 10:9. Such 
conflicts are about very minute distinctions, but every discord 
produces them if it is dwelt upon. Nevertheless, the twelve notes 
that human hands can negotiate within a span-stretched octave 
suffice to express the most chromatic harmony with less average 
inaccuracy than is cheerfully permitted in human singing and 
violin-playing. Singers and violinists can and do constantly 
achieve a purer intonation than that of keyed instruments ; but 
the only aesthetic issue between free voices and tempered instru 
ments is the difference between a human intonation liable to 
human error and an instrumental intonation with an inherent 
systematic error. The human error is often not only accidentally 
but deliberately in excess of the systematic error, for the slightest 
vibrato is larger than the quantities involved. 

The subject of just intonation is fatally fascinating to people 
whose mathematical insight has not attained to the notion of 
approximation. In art, as in mathematics, accuracy lies in esti 
mating the relevant degree of approximation rather than in 
unrolling interminable decimals. Music is no more to be heard 
through Helmholtz resonators than pictures are to be enjoyed 
through microscopes. The true musical ear will recognize the 
real meaning of harmonies though the practical intonation con 
founds them with homonyms. Bach introduced no new musical 
thought when he arranged Das Wohltemperirte Klavier to stimu 
late the adoption of equal temperament by providing music in 
every major and minor key for which the keyboard had notes. 


Systems of unequal temperament tuned the commoner keys as 
well as possible, in the hope that remoter keys would never be 
visited. Bach decided that it was better to have all keys equally 
out of tune than to have some keys intolerable. The miraculous 
modulations of his Chromatic Fantasia deliberately emphasize 
all the chords that were * wolves in unequal temperament, and 
thus Bach devoted his highest eiforts of imagination to a humble 
practical purpose. But Marenzio had modulated as far in madri 
gals written in the purest golden-age polyphony. No true har 
monic ideas are based on equal temperament, any more than a 
true geometry is based on exclusively rational quantities. 


The commonest way of establishing a change of key is, as we 
have seen, to emphasize the dominant chord of the new key 
until only the new tonic can be expected. This we will call 
dominant modulation ; leaving out of consideration how the new 
dominant is reached. (It was probably surrounded by its own 
dominant-of- dominant, which could be reached from various 
other directions.) 

A more interesting type of modulation begins with Beethoven, 
arising out of hints given by Haydn and Mozart. It may be 
called functional modulation, and consists in placing indirectly 
related keys into positions which make their exact relation appear 
vividly. If the first chord of the second key is a dominant, the 
relation will still appear in high relief; but any further decoration 
of that dominant will reduce the result to an ordinary modula 
tion. (Compare bars 22-3 of the first movement of Beethoven s 
* Waldstein Sonata with the drastic process of bars 37-8 in the 
first movement of op. 106.) 

Functional modulation might well be called natural* if that 
term had not been commonly assigned to modulation within the 
five directly related keys, irrespective of method. 

Mere juxtaposition of tonics will suffice for the purposes of a 
functional modulation. If Beethoven had wished to explain the 
presence of F sharp minor (vi[?) in the scheme of op. 106, the 
natural (or functional) process would consist of the following 
four chords : 


Closely akin to this method is Beethoven s dramatic way of 


reducing a chord to a single note, and then building up there 
from a quite remote chord. (See opp. 90 and 8ia.) 

All such devices show the listener what is really happening. 
The object of enharmonic * modulation is frankly to mystify. It 
is popularly supposed to belong specially to tempered scales ; but 
it really presupposes just intonation. All discords, as we have 
seen, set up a conflict in their intonation; and an enharmonic 
modulation is merely a conflict so coarse-grained that it appears 
in the notation by some such mark as a change from GJ to A|?. 
An ill-motived enharmonic modulation is like a bad pun ; a great 
enharmonic modulation is a sublime mystery. Here is the com 
monest pivot of enharmonic changes, the diminished seventh, 
with its four vastly different resolutions : 

* 1 n in iv 

*> * ** ^ 

Of course, these are really four different chords, if the true 
theory of just intonation demanded that the minor scale should 
be rigid, a chord of the diminished seventh would be much 
harsher than the tempered scale makes it. But what really hap 
pens in just intonation is that two notes of the minor scale become 
so unstable in the stress of discord that it becomes a small matter 
to shift the strains to whichever notes you please. Even with a 
limited keyboard the ear imagines a change of intonation when 
the unexpected resolution appears. This is why chromatic inter 
vals are difficult to sing; the singer loses confidence when he has 
to aim at a note which will not stand still. 

Not every change of notation represents a genuine enharmonic 
modulation. Modulate diatonically from A to F: and transpose 
your modulation down a semitone. You will start in A flat, but 
if you have much to say in the second key you will probably pre 
fer to write it as E, instead of F flat. Sad nonsense has been 
written by many commentators on the most ordinary harmonies 
disguised by convenience of notation. 

Nevertheless, a merely notational change may eventually have 
an enharmonic result, for it may be part of an enharmonic circle. 
If the harmonic world is round, why should just intonation be 
plane? Adjustments infinitely smaller than those of tempera 
ment will suffice to make the ends of an enharmonic circle meet 
in the course of a long composition. The first movement of 
Brahms J s F major Symphony, played with its repeat, goes four 
times round an enharmonic circle of major thirds (F, D[j, B^ 
== A, F). Every time the key written as F returns it identifies 
itself by the opening theme. If the pitch rose to G\>\> we would 


scarcely notice the fact after the intervening passages, and when 
the pitch had risen noticeably we should complain. Tempera 
ment keeps the pitch; but just intonation could do so by an even 
distribution of infinitely smaller adjustments. 

It now becomes clear why keys a tritone fourth apart cannot 
become related. That interval (which modal musicians identified 
with the devil) constitutes the kink in musical space. It sets up 
an enharmonic short circuit; a modulation from C to F sharp 
is exactly the same as one from G flat back to C; and which 
ever key you start from, the other will sound like the dominant 
of a Neapolitan key instead of asserting its own rights. No 
sensible person forbids the modulation ; its effect may be excel 
lent, but it is not the effect of a key-relation. 


Wagner s sense of key is exactly the same as Beethoven s; but 
it has hours in which to exercise itself, whereas Beethoven s 
designs seldom stretch without break over fifteen minutes, and 
always show their purport within five. But take, for example, the 
conflict between two major keys a tone apart. The jealous Fricka 
did hope (in F major) that the domestic comforts of Walhalla 
would induce Wotan to settle down. Wotan, gently taking up her 
theme in E flat, dashes her hopes by this modulation more effec 
tively than by any use of his artillery of tubas and trombones. 

But the most distinctive feature of Wagner s harmony is his 
use of long auxiliary notes in such a way as to suggest immensely 
remote keys, which vanish with the resolution. (Chopin antici 
pates Wagner in what Sir Henry Hadow finely describes as 
* chromatic iridescence .) 

On p. 68 is the evolution of the wonderful opening of Tristan 
und Isolde. 


The line of evolution traced thus far has, evidently, no a 
priori limits, though it has principles. Any new system is des 
tined either to starve for lack of nourishment from the main 
sources of music or become absorbed in them. Systems derived 
from equal temperament are crude fallacies. The whole-tone 
scale which readily arises on the pianoforte, e.g., C,D,E,F#. 
( =G|?, Afc>, B|7, C), amused Debussy during a few dozen songs 
and short pieces, and played a much less predominant part in his 
Pelleas et Melisande than is generally supposed. It is really no 
more a whole-tone scale than the diminished seventh is a major 
sixth bounding a series of minor thirds. Sir Walford Davies has 
pointed out that this scale is a six-note chord projected into a 


Evolution of the opening of Wagner s Prelude to Tristan und Isolde 

EX.19 Three concords (tonic, first inversion of 
snbdominant,aud dominant of A minor, a possible 
16th-century cadence in the Phrygian mode) 

f f 
\ . 


Ex. 20 -The same chords varied by a 

EX. 21 - Ditto, with the further addition 
of a double suspension (*) and two passing 
notes (ff) 

* r 

Ex, 22 Ditto, with a chromatic alteration 
of the second chord (*) and an essential discord 
(dominant yth) at (f) 

Ex.23 Ditto,with chromatic passing^ 
notes(**) and appoggiaturafl(ff ) 

{ J. 

Ex. 24 The last two chords 
of Ex.23 attacked unexpectedly, 
the first appoggiatura (*) 
prolonged till it seems to make 
a strange foreign chord bcforu 
it resolves on the short note at 
5,while the second appoggktura 
Cf) is chromatic. 

Ex. 25 The same en- 
harmonically transformed so 
as to become a variation of 
the dominant ninth* of C 
minor. The G# at * is really 
Al>, and J is no longer a note 
of reH)lution,but a chromatic 
pasbiiig note. 



I T T I" 



single octave and capable, like the diminished seventh, of an 
enharmonic turn to each of its notes. Here is one of several 
possible ways of showing the six resolutions of this scale: 


Enthusiasts for new systems are naturally infuriated when the 
systems thus fade into the light of common or Wagnerian day. 
Nevertheless, the pleasure given by every effort at revolutionary 
harmony results from the fact that the new chords enter our 
consciousness with the meaning they would bear in a classical 
scheme. Not only Wagner but Bach and Palestrina lurk behind 
every new harmonic sensation, and cannot long be prevented 
from making sense of it. After sense has been made, the funda 
mental theorists will return and prove to us that many quite 
commonplace chromatic progressions contain the triskaideka- 
hyperhendekaenneaheptachord of Ex. 26 with the omission of 
not more than four of its notes. 

Other new theories are not less quickly worn out, even when 
invented by gifted composers. Scriabin, each of whose last five 
sonatas is built round its own new chord, complained shortly 
before his untimely death that he had, after all, not succeeded in 
getting away from a sophisticated dominant seventh. This com 
plaint recalls Philipp Emanuel Bach s criticism of Rameau s 
theory, and its cause lies deep in the very nature of articulate 
thought. If you^wish to compose freely, do not fix your mind 
on new harmonic propositions. Language is not extended by 
declining to use what is known of it. 

Arnold Schonberg s harmonic theory is often masterly in its 
analysis of classical music, but it is extremely disappointing in 
its constructive aspect. Not only does Schonberg think the 
absurd old theory of added thirds* worth refuting, but he in 
vents a new theory of added fourths which has even less founda 
tion. The theory of added thirds was no more scientific than a 


classification of birds by the colour of their feathers. But birds 
do have feathers of various colours, and classical music does build 
up chords by sequences of thirds. Schonberg s theory rests on no 
observation at all, for the piling up of fourths has no origin in 
classical harmony and only a quickly exhausted melodic value. 
However, it can be carried right round the tempered scale in 
twelve steps and ad infinitttm in just intonation. To find the com 
poser of the Gurrelieder fathering such theories is as disconcer 
ting as to discover Einstein telling fortunes in Bond Street. 


Harmony has not yet found a place for so simple a natural 
phenomenon as the seventh note of the harmonic series. Here 
are the first sixteen notes from bass C as the fundamental. Many 
a clang* contains them all in appreciable strength, yet no fewer 
than three (besides the octave of No. 7) are outside our system, 
Nos. 7 and 13 being much flatter than the notes here written, 
and No. n much sharper. 

Ex.27 * t , ^ 

"^234 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 

Again, though resultant tones are audible enough to save organ- 
builders from the expense of 32-ft. pipes by means of devices 
which reinforce the resultant tone and obliterate its generators, 
they have played no acknowledged part in musical aesthetics. 
A theory which builds upon them must abandon the hypothesis 
that all harmony grows upwards from the bass. Abandon it by 
all means if your musical intuitions inspire you with ideas based 
on resultant tones by which, however, you must mean some 
thing different from harmony whose ideal bass lies in its resultant 
tones, for that will merely be another notion of fundamental 
bass, differing from Rameau s, but again forcing you to regard 
harmony as rising from the bass. And, after all, the hypothesis is 
not a theory, but an experience. The language of music has, in 
fact, taken shape without guidance from resultant tones ; just as 
the art of painting has, until recent epochs, made no conscious 
use of complementary colours, except by instinctively avoiding 
ugly or unintelligible effects. 

Schonberg rightly says that der Einfall, the inspiration that 
comes without theorizing, is the sole criterion of musical truth ; 
and perhaps some composers may have Einfdlk so convincing in 
their use of Nos. 7, u, and 13 as to compel us to build new 
instruments for them. And so with the use of a resultant-tone or 


inverted harmonic system. The string quartets of Haba have 
not as yet made quarter-tones sound convincingly unlike faulty 
intonation. We must not blame our ears, which often appreciate 
much smaller measurements. The just intonation of a Wagner 
opera would comprise some thousand notes to the octave. The 
question is not how many notes we use in the long run, but how 
small a direct measurement is of interest to us. The carpenter 
deals faithfully with the incommensurable when he so much as 
fits a cross-bar to a square gate. 

Many other modern harmonic tendencies are essentially mat 
ters of instrumentation. If, abandoning the polyphonic hypo 
thesis, we use chords, simple or complex, as mere unanalysed 
tone-colours, we can start a new polyphony with moving chords 
instead of moving single parts. 

Triplaaar harmony and doubling- of melodies in whole chords 

_ R.VAUGHAN WILLIAMS, Pastoral Symphony 

Eat. 28 *-* v 

Our problem, then, will be to keep the planes of tone distinct. 
Organ mixtures, if not properly drowned by the fundamental 
tones, would shock the boldest multiplanar harmonist by the 
mess they would make of classical harmony. 

Extremes meet, and we are recovering a sense of the values of 
unharmonized melody; not melody which wants to be harmon 
ized, nor melody which achieves harmonic sense by draughtsman 
ship, but the austere achievement, far more difficult than any 
atonality, of a melody that neither needs nor implies harmony. 
And so we return to nature. 


INSTRUMENTATION is the aspect of music which deals with timbre, 
and with the technical possibilities and characters of instruments 
and voices. The treatment of the orchestra has for the last hun 
dred years been the most popular branch of the art. Hence the 
vogue of the narrow term orchestration . The colloquial word 
scoring* is the only adequate name for an art that ought to 
include all other aspects of timbre and performance^ such as 
chamber music (q.v.), pianoforte writing, and organ registration. 

Method of Study. The first requisite for good scoring is an 
imagination exercised by training. Rules are not enough; and 
neither is mere practical experience. Schumann s scoring grew 
worse as experience discouraged him; and a student who masters 
good rules without training his imagination merely protects him 
self from learning by experience. Many musicians who ought ^to 
know better are doing serious mischief by denying the possibility 
of arm-chair score-reading. Exaggerated claims are harmless, for 
they are nearer to the truth of what an accumulation of study 
can achieve. The common sense of the matter is obviously this : 
the arm-chair reader can vividly imagine effects that he has 
heard; he can recognize similar effects when he sees them in a 
score that is new to him ; and so with effort and practice he can 
realize the effect of known sounds in new combinations. The 
complexity of the combinations has, in reason, little to do with 
the difficulties of imagination; and familiarity with the type of 
music is always a paramount factor. 

William Wallace, in The Threshold of Music, seemed to believe 
that modern progress in orchestration has produced new cerebral 
powers. This is a fallacy: listeners or conductors who have 
become familiar with Richard Strauss s orchestration will vividly 
imagine the sounds of a page of the master s latest and fullest 
scoring long before scrutiny has shown more than the main entries 
and the general type of colouring. But such readers may get 
nothing but abstract grammatical propositions from a page of 
Palestrina if they have never heard pure polyphony sung without 
accompaniment in a vaulted building. The music of each great 
period has its own proper scoring which sounds well under its 
proper conditions. The student should take opportunities of 
hearing each kind of music well produced; and he should multi 
ply his experience by reading the scores of all periods, besides 
those of his own day. An imagination thus trained is obviously 
useful to conductors. It is not less useful to composers, for it is 
no mere antiquarian lore but a widely generalized capacity to 


imagine correctly all kinds of significant musical sounds. Its 
possessor will never produce the woolly scoring of the unimagina 
tive composer who goes by rule, and if he makes errors of calcula 
tion these will be remediable as errors of imagination are not. 

Rules are useful in preventing errors of calculation. The only 
extant treatise on instrumentation that gives correct rules is the 
posthumous work of Rimsky-Korsakov. Starting with the propo 
sition that good scoring is good part- writing, this brilliant and 
fantastic Russian composer lays down surprisingly severe rules 
for combining good part-writing with well-balanced orchestral 
values. At first it seems incredible that any free art could live on 
such terms ; yet the marvellous purity of Mozart s orchestration 
supports Rimsky-Korsakov s system in an art a century earlier 
and far more complex. For there is less wonder that Rimsky- 
Korsakov s colouring should be pure since his ideas never over 
lap, and his hundreds of illustrations from his own works consist 
(except for a few scraps of recitative) exclusively of 2-bar or 4-bar 
phrases that repeat themselves. We shall not learn Mozart s art 
from this, and rules will not endow us with Rimsky-Korsakov s 
imagination. Nor was that imagination equal to distinguishing 
blunders from subtleties in the score of his friend Mussorgsky s 
Boris Godunov. Much less, then, is it to be trusted when he 
dismisses Beethoven s orchestration with the remark that the 
execution of Beethoven s ideas is far inferior to their conception. 
This really means that the narrow cross-section of Beethoven s 
ideas that comes within the aesthetic range of Russian ballet- 
music could have been scored more easily and brilliantly by a 
Russian composer in 1890. Apart from this, Beethoven is doubt 
less not infallible. But perkiness starves the imagination. 

Pure Sixteenth-century Polyphony, In the article HARMONY 
(q.v.) the grammar of pure polyphony is shown to be equivalent 
to the art of vocal scoring. A modern choir soon learns the truth 
of the sixteenth-century rules when it faces the task of unaccom 
panied rehearsal. The old rules secure singability as well as 
euphony. But they also leave the composer s imagination free for 
many subtleties. Our stereotyped full chorus of soprano, alto, 
tenor, and bass is roughly that of the sixteenth century, though 
we have forgotten the ways of the genuine boy-alto who delights 
in manly growls down to D and becomes shy above A in the next 
octave. The sixteenth century knew no other alto, and Palestrina 
has seventeen ways of grouping four parts and twelve different 
ways for three parts, besides equally various five-part and six- 
part grouping. In eight-part works for double choir the two 
choirs are often contrasted, as in Palestrina s motet and mass 
Hodie Christus natus est, where the second choir, led by the altos, 
makes a terrestrial antiphony to a choir of angels. 


The infinite subtleties of sixteenth-century part-writing are 
beyond the scope of this article and very remote from the experi 
ences of any instrumental music. But every conductor and every 
composer may learn much from Palestrina s and Lasso s devices 
of producing by part-crossing beautiful progressions that would 
be crude if the planes of tone were not kept distinct. In all later 
periods the distinction of planes of tone is a fundamental prin 
ciple. In the sixteenth century it enters into these delicate intrica 
cies, and appears more obviously in the rule formulated by the 
first composers for double and triple choirs, viz., that the har 
mony of each choir must be complete even when all are singing 
together. Lasso disregards this rule, but its common sense 
becomes evident when the choirs are on opposite sides of the 

Archaic Instrumentation. At the end of the sixteenth century 
monody arose. It was the art of non-polyphonal vocal declama 
tion with an instrumental accompaniment. With characteristic 
acumen the Italian monodists promptly recognized that voices 
and instruments will not meet on the same plane of tone. Not 
all composers understood the new problems. The habit, in pri 
vate performance, of using viols to replace missing voices in 
madrigals had gone far to make composers incautious in dealing 
with more penetrating instruments. The flat-backed viols with 
their husky and reedy tone (nowadays still noticeable in the 
double-bass) were already giving place to the royal family of the 
violin in all its sizes; this family was no longer on singing terms 
with voices ; yet many composers at first saw no difficulty in using 
any instrument as equivalent to any other instrument or voice at 
the same pitch. Schiitz (1585-1672) writes for triple and quad 
ruple choirs of voices mixed with instruments. He writes the 
words under the instruments as well as under the voices; he 
often merely designates a part Vox instrumentalist but he also 
takes the trouble to suggest Tromba o flauto, as if these instru 
ments, in low register, had the same weight! Beauty often 
emerges from the chaos associated with some practical sugges 
tion that leaves us in doubt whether the composer knew what he 
achieved; as when Schiitz proposes that his wonderful Lamen- 
tatio Davidi, a perfectly scored masterpiece for bass voice, four 
trombones, and organ, should be played with two violins an 
octave higher as a substitute for the first two trombones ! 

Continuo Instrumentation. By the time of Bach and Handel 
instrumentation had become a mature art but an art depending 
on conditions no longer familiar to us. When these conditions 
are restored the resulting aesthetic system completely justifies 
itself. It recognizes that no group of instruments can make homo 
geneous harmony like a vocal chorus, but that all instrumental 


scoring consists normally of a top, a bottom, and a tertium quid 
which completes the harmony but remains in the background. 
Bass instruments support the bass ; all other instruments, what 
ever their pitch, are aesthetically top parts, and their most 
elaborate counterpoint does not profess to make their tones blend. 
They are woven into patterns of coloured threads, not blended 
like the colours of a landscape. The tertium quid is provided by 
an organ or a harpsichord ; and it obeys the normal grammar of 
choral harmony. Only a keyboard instrument can provide such 
harmony ready-made on one plane of tone. At the present day 
one of the commonest faults of unimaginative scoring is the habit 
of treating the orchestra like a four-part chorus. Continuo orches 
tration shows the true principle with drastic clearness, but it 
shelves the problem of how to keep subordinate parts in their 
places. The continue player represents an army of slaves uphold 
ing an aristocratic civilization. 

Besides gaining a capacity to attack discords boldly, the vocal 
chorus has undergone a radical change in the treatment of the 
bass voice when supported by instruments. When the tenor is 
low but still interior to the harmony, the bass is no longer 
obliged to go lower, but is free to sing in its upper register, 
crossing freely above the tenor but relying on instruments which 
double it an octave lower as the true bass. Bach and Handel 
never once cross the bass over the tenor in any other way; the 
tenor in such places never gives the true bass. And Bach s so- 
called unaccompanied motets thus show in every line that they 
were conceived as supported by at least an instrumental bass. In 
fact, unaccompanied choral writing practically disappears from 
classical music between Palestrina and Schubert. It appears 
modestly in part-songs, and is first taken fully seriously by 
Brahms, though some older conductors of choral societies had 
honourably kept up its tradition. 

The basis of the continue orchestra was, as now, the string 
band, an instrumental chorus of first and second violins, violas, 
and violoncellos, supported an octave lower by double basses 
which are never independent. Wind instruments did not form a 
complete mass of harmony but stood out against the strings in 
double or triple threads of each timbre, except when (as often in 
Handel) they doubled the strings. Flutes were used much more 
in their lower registers than we think fit in modern orchestration. 
In the organ loft of a vaulted building low flutes are more effec 
tive than in ordinary concert-rooms. The ordinary flute is called 
traverso. The term flauto , with the use of the treble clef on the 
bottom line, indicates the flute-a-bec, a kind of flageolet, with 
rather a higher range. Bach uses pairs of each kind in the 
Matthew Passion but not in the same movements. 


Oboes are also used in threes or pairs, and the ordinary oboe 
alternates with a variety a third lower, the oboe d amore, with 
the bell (and therefore the tone) of a cor anglais. Strauss has 
revived it. The real cor anglais figures in Bach s orchestra as the 
oboe da caccia or the taille. Some authorities tell us that one or 
other of these was not an alto oboe but a tenor bassoon. It is 
easier to relabel a museum specimen than to rewrite the whole 
of Bach s oboe da caccia music. 

Bassoons hardly ever emerge from doubling the bass. The 
Quoniam of Bach s B minor Mass is a bass solo accompanied 
by a horn, two bassoons, and continuo. It would be delicious if 
we could find proper acoustic conditions for it and could handle 
the continuo discreetly enough. A great moment is the rising of 
the spirit of Samuel in Handel s Saul, where the bassoons are as 
ghostly and awesome as the prophet s message. In large enough 
numbers they would also astonish us in Handel s scoring of the 
* thick darkness in Israel in Egypt. Handel, whose oratorio per 
formances were on a large scale, must have had more reed-tone 
than string- tone in his orchestra ; for he often had twenty oboes 
and twenty bassoons. Multiplication greatly mellows the tone of 
an instrument; and we, who seldom hear more than four oboes 
in unison, even in Mahler s Eighth Symphony, must not hastily 
judge our ancestors on this point. 

Trumpets and horns, not being provided with modern valves, 
could produce only the natural harmonic series of the key to 
which their length of tube was set. That series does not close up 
into anything like a scale until the eighth harmonic. Accordingly 
trumpeters devoted themselves to acquiring extraordinary com 
mand of the delicate distinctions of high lip-pressures (em 
bouchures) between the eighth and twentieth harmonics. A long 
mouthpiece, with a little play in its adjustments, enabled the 
trumpeter to correct the out-of-tune eleventh, thirteenth, and 
fourteenth harmonics. (This secret was already forgotten by 
1785, so that Burney, describing the Handel Centenary Festival, 
tells us that whenever the G and G$ , alternately represented by 
the eleventh harmonic, were heard in * The trumpet shall sound , 
displeasure was seen on every countenance.) Humbler players 
called themselves Principal-Udser and produced the lower notes 
to which the tight-lipped clarino-player could not descend. Horn- 
players developed a similar hazardous technique of high notes. 
In modern performances special training and special instruments 
are required for early eighteenth-century trumpet and horn 
music. A modern tendency to strain all instruments up to high 
notes has facilitated this revival. Trombones, when they occa 
sionally appear in continuo orchestration, are treated exactly like 
choral voices, and are, indeed, mainly used in unison with the 


chorus. A soprano trombone at first completed the group, but 
Bach already had to replace it by some kind of slide-trumpet 
(corno da tirarsf). 

Bach s full orchestra consists, then, of the string band (prefer 
ably larger than he ever had), oboes (ordinary or d amore) in pairs 
or threes, flutes or flutes-a-bec in pairs or threes, bassoons (taken 
for granted) in unison with the basses, three trumpets (two clarini 
and one principal), three horns (not often used together with the 
trumpets), and a pair of kettle-drums. If the string band is large 
the wind parts, other than the trumpets, should be doubled, 
trebled, or (in festival performances) multiplied. The organ sup 
plies the continuo in choruses, and the harpsichord supplies it in 
solo movements. The pianoforte is really (as Philipp Emanuel 
Bach already urged) better than the harpsichord, if only the 
player will avoid a self-assertive touch. 

The orchestral combinations of solo movements range from 
Handel s perfunctory tutti unisoni to Bach s and Handel s richest 
schemes. Instruments obsolescent from incompatibility or feeble 
ness live awhile in the arias and recitatives, protected from com 
petition with the orchestra; and so we learn from Bach s Passions 
and Trauer Ode the use of the lute and viola da gamba, and from 
Handel s Alexander Balus the use of the theorbo, a large double- 
necked lute. Each movement has its own scheme of instrumenta 
tion as a set pattern which cannot change while the movement 

The scheme of a chorus with independent full orchestra is in 
three planes of tone. These planes do not interfere with each 
other, and each plane has variants of the same harmonic scheme 
which would produce appalling collisions if all were projected on 
to a single plane (say, in an arrangement for two pianofortes). 
The principal plane is that of the voices. Above it, mostly higher 
in pitch, all the instruments that are not doubling the bass flourish 
with more rapid detail than the voices. Behind, and supporting 
the whole, is the continuo which moves more slowly than the 
chorus. The bass is common to all the planes, though it is 
enlivened by instrumental details. The results of this scheme, 
realized by competent execution under scholarly guidance, are 
as true in our age as they were when Bach and Handel wrote. 
Scholarship must show us the right conditions for performance, 
but it need not recover too precisely the actual original conditions. 
An old man who had been a chorister under Bach at Leipzig 
once told Wagner s teacher, Weinlig, how Bach s cantatas were 
performed. His account was, c It went atrociously and we always 
got a flogging afterwards . 

Symphonic Orchestration. Glucklaid down one of the cardinal 
principles of symphonic as well as dramatic orchestration when 


he said that instruments ought to be used according to dramatic 
vicissitudes. This means that for Gluck it is neither sufficient nor 
often possible to use them according to a set pattern. Another 
cardinal principle results from the disappearance of the continue. 
This first happened merely by neglect, as the severe training 
needed for it repelled a generation of musicians excited by non- 
polyphonic styles. But mere neglect soon passed into a disposi 
tion to make the orchestra provide its own continue. If old music 
sounded hollow without a continue, why should not new music 
contrive better? This at once put many instruments into 
categories unrealized by Bach and only sporadically realized by 
the eclectic Handel. An instrument could now have two values: 
one, the old cantabile function ; the other a capacity to provide 
unobtrusive notes for the background. Holding-notes for the 
horns revealed a wonderful beauty and usefulness in this way, 
with all a singer s power to swell and diminish the sound. 

The bassoons became the hardest- worked wind instruments in 
the early symphonic orchestra, for they could do everything re 
quired of continuo-work, from doubling the bass to supplying 
the many notes the natural horns could not reach. Their tone, 
so beautifully if unwittingly described in The Hunting of the 
Snark as * meagre and hollow but crisp, like a coat that is rather 
too tight in the waist, with a flavour of will-o -the-wisp , had a 
most useful capacity for vanishing; and too tight in the waist is 
a very apt description of instruments which, like the bassoon 
and the viola, show in their half-veiled tones the results of a 
compromise between the dimensions proper to their pitch and 
the practicable stretch of human hands. 

The viola had at first a curious position in the early symphonic 
style. That style was so unpolyphonic that the viola could for a 
long time find nothing to do but to double the violoncello in the 
upper octaves as the basses double them in the lower. The result 
is so good that in early symphonies it is carried out mechanically, 
even where it takes the violas above the second violins. But 
Mozart uses this primitive device with full imaginative insight 
in mature works where he hardly less often divides the violas 
into two independent parts. 

The trumpets of the symphonic orchestra have become de 
graded to the fanfares and signallings of the Principal-bldser. The 
clarino player was finally ousted by players of a cheap substitute 
called the clarinet, which could play high trumpet parts with ease, 
if with rather a vinegar tone. But the clarinet had a wide com 
pass; these trumpet-sounds were its worst. Below them it had a 
rich cantabile octave, and below that a few rather dull notes ; and 
below these a coldly mysterious and reedy lowest octave, the 
chalumeau register. The dull middle notes proved astonishingly 


useful for continue purposes; they are higher than the bassoon 
can attain without self-assertion, and they are not limited like the 
horn notes. Gluck uses the clarinet only in this neutral region; 
and even Mozart gives the instrument nothing better when the 
orchestra is in the key of D. This primitive treatment survives as 
late as Beethoven s Second Symphony, and was revived by him 
in quite a late work, the fugal overture Zur Weihe des Hauses 
(op. 124). 

But when Mozart uses clarinets in the keys of A major, E major 
E flat, and B flat he reveals the clarinet as richer and more re 
sourceful than any other wind instrument. The chalumeau 
octave is deliciously nutty in arpeggios, and dramatically hollow 
in sustained notes. The cantabile octave is magnificent (see the 
trio of the minuet of the great E flat Symphony, for its contrast 
with echoes on the flute and with low arpeggios on the second 
clarinet). The military high notes (or * fife sounds ) Mozart does 
not care for. Beethoven s view of the clarinet is less sympathetic 
than Mozart s, his idea of its cantabile register being just a tone 
too high. Schubert understands it perfectly. 

The oboe can never efface itself. Run through the individual 
wind-parts of some such encyclopaedic score as Wagner s Meister- 
singer ) and you will be astonished at the unfailing beauty of the 
oboe parts and at the large tracts of drudgery in the excellent, 
uncomplaining clarinets. 

The flute has no power in its lower octave and blends with 
other instruments in none, except, paradoxically, with extremely 
high Bach-like trumpet notes (if the experiment were ever tried). 
But in its top octave (from A to A) it is a very adequate and 
euphonious treble to the wind-band, and gains greatly by doub 
ling. Haydn hardly ever writes his orchestral flutes high enough 
and often seems to expect low notes to be heard under conditions 
that would not have satisfied Bach. It is possible that his long 
period of experiment at Esterhazy did him less good tjian he or 
historians have thought. His Esterhazy symphonies snow that he 
had a primitive orchestra diversified by astonishing solo players. 
He was able at Esterhazy to produce horn-passages that would 
astonish Bach. But in the world outside he found that orchestras, 
though better in the rank and file, were seldom troubled by vir 
tuoso members. In his last symphony the theme of the finale is 
a typical and easy horn tune, but he dare not give it to the first 
horn of Salomon s London orchestra except under cover of a 
tutti! All his mature scoring is full of strokes of genius but 
deeply marked with signs of disillusion. 

Beethoven s Instrumentation. Beethoven enlarged the range 
of orchestral thought more than any composer between Gluck 
and Wagner. The circumstance of his deafness made him the 


victim of some miscalculations ; and pedantic views of orchestra 
tion lead many critics to exaggerate these into grounds for a. 
worse perkiness than Rimsky-Korsakov s damaging patronage of 
Beethoven s scoring. Two things must be learnt by everybody 
who wishes to understand Beethoven ; first, that errors of calcula 
tion are not the same thing as errors of imagination ; secondly, that 
a symphony is not an opera. Beethoven s errors of calculation are 
no greater than those of any composer who has not been able to 
hear a rehearsal of his own orchestral work. Their correction, as 
shown by Weingartner (Ratschldge) y is equivalent to any piano 
forte player s control of his own touch, and would amount to 
little more than a conductor s ordinary exercise of his skill were 
they twice as extensive. 

Errors of imagination do not exist in Beethoven s art ; and only 
a school of criticism by rule of thumb would suppose that they 
did. Compared with Mozart s, Beethoven s scoring is rough, re 
dundant, and capricious. But Beethoven s ideas are not Mozart s 
and can be expressed neither in Mozart s nor in Wagner s scoring. 
When critics tell us that bars 5-8 of the first movement of 
Beethoven s Eighth Symphony are badly scored, all they mean 
is that to let two oboes and a flute crowd in upon a quiet phrase 
in the clarinet is not a proper way to score the first fateful appear 
ance of a Wagnerian leitmotive, which may not be heard again 
for an hour. But it is an admirably dramatic and symphonic way 
to score a formal phrase which is going to be shouted at the top 
of the full orchestra immediately afterwards. The conductor need 
only say four words to the oboes, Let the clarinet through , and 
the passage becomes perfectly clear. But it is already intelligible 
without any such precaution, and only bad playing can spoil it. 

The symphonic orchestra which suffices for Beethoven, and 
for Brahms two generations later, consists of strings, pairs of 
flutes, oboes, clarinets, and bassoons, one or two pairs of horns, 
a pair of trumpets, and kettledrums. Trombones, reserved for 
climaxes, are used in spacious three-part harmony, and Beethoven 
requires them in three sizes, alto, tenor, and bass. For lack of 
the alto trombone many of Beethoven s top notes must nowadays 
be lowered; and then our smart young orchestrators blame 
Beethoven for his ill-balanced chords. The full wind-tone is 
extended upwards by the dangerously shrill piccolo, and down 
wards by the contrafagotto, which gives the bass a richness with 
out asserting itself. The big drum, cymbals, and triangle are 
called * Turkish music and, when used at all by Beethoven, are 
used according to Viennese ideas of Turkishness. Beethoven s 
intentions, whatever we may think of their execution, cover the 
whole field of symphonic art ; and it is to dramatic, orchestration 
that we must look for any addition to his range of thought. 


Dramatic Orchestration. The change from continuo-orches- 
tration to the symphonic style was, as we have seen, essentially a 
change towards drama. Hence the dramatic and symphonic styles 
do not become separated at once; and with Mozart, who was 
equally happy in both, they are not easy to distinguish. The 
distinction is, even in Mozart, a paradox to people who think that 
opera is the most dramatic form of music. Sonatas and sym 
phonies, even by Mozart, turn out to be far too dramatic for the 
stage. The fight at the beginning of Don Giovanni is perfectly 
adequately represented in musical sequences which would be too 
cold for any but his earliest symphonies. Theatre music will no 
more stand a symphonic environment than stage scenery will 
stand daylight. 

And yet there is no limit to the refinement of dramatic orches 
tration whether in Mozart or Wagner. The gradations that a 
symphonic composer uses in twenty bars must be spread over a 
hundred in any continuous part of an opera, even on Mozart s 
scale. Here we already have a reason why opera should encourage 
very delicate gradations. Wagner s scale is given by the three 
minutes of the chord of E flat at the beginning of Das Rheingold; 
but still more significant is his management of a tensely emotional 
quarter of an hour with no more orchestra than strings and two 
horns, without double-basses, in the first act of Die Walkure. His 
enlargements of the orchestra all have an ultimate effect of puri 
fying the timbre and so removing complications from the method 
of scoring. There was nothing new in large orchestras: both 
Mozart and Beethoven had rejoiced in performances with double 
wind ; and in Wagner s early Dresden days Spontini requisitioned 
douze belles contrebasses for the performance of his operas. The 
experienced Wagner of Bayreuth is contented with eight. 

A great stimulus was given to all orchestration by the inven 
tion of ventil trumpets and ventil horns. When these instruments 
thereby acquired a complete scale, the aesthetics of all brass in 
struments needed reconsideration. Unimaginative composers of 
course saw no difficulty. A trumpet penetrates everything else 
like a red-hot poker, so why not give it the melody in every tutti? 
Wagner thought otherwise; he felt that brass tone was coarse 
unless it was used in large harmonic masses, and he accordingly 
invented new brass instruments to make the masses complete 
and coherent. Meanwhile he took his wind instruments in threes 
instead of twos. Already in the comparatively simple scores of 
Der Fliegende Hollander and Lohengrin this greatly clarified the 
colour-scheme. Half the art of scoring for wind instruments in 
the classical symphonies consists in making the best of the fact 
that instruments of contrasted tones will not make homogeneous 
triads when taken in couples. In Tristan und Isolde the threefold 


arrangement (two oboes and cor anglais : two clarinets and bass 
clarinet) adds its advantages to the maturest Wagnerian harmony, 
with a polyphony as profound as that of Beethoven s last quar 
tets. In the tetralogy of Der Ring des Nibelungen Wagner takes 
his wind groups in fours, and introduces his new brass instru 
ments. They originated in the bass-tuba, which had come to 
replace the grotesque ophicleide and the still more primitive ser 
pent as a bass to the trombones. These makeshifts had served 
Mendelssohn s purpose and failed to serve Berlioz s. The tuba 
could put an imposing bass below the trombones. Its tone is fat 
and puffy whereas that of the trombone is red-hot. A sensitive 
ear may notice, and a wise ear may refuse to notice, that the tuba 
is putting a black line below the red. But Wagner saw the possi 
bility of a new aesthetic value here; and so in his tetralogy five 
tubas ranging from contrabass to high tenor show as clear a con 
trast from trombones as oboes from clarinets (Rimsky-Korsakov 
utterly fails to grasp this point). 

The composers, having learnt new powers from such enlarge 
ments, can henceforth use these powers without extra apparatus. 
The orchestration of Die Meistersinger is the most complex in all 
Wagner, just because it is written for Beethoven s orchestra plus 
one tuba and a harp, and, of course, the now ubiquitous ventil 
horns, the most perfect of all continuo-players. In Parsifal the 
extra tubas are abandoned but the remaining bass-tuba has 
permanently won its independence of the trombones. 

It seems paradoxical to leave Berlioz out of account in a history 
of instrumentation. Yet, short of a detailed appreciation of his 
individual strokes of genius, all that can be said of him is that he 
drew attention to the subject in an epoch-making but capricious 
treatise, and that he achieved all that was possible to a highly 
imaginative musician who happened to hate polyphony. And 
that is more than some critics might expect. But it cannot have 
much direct influence on more ordinary musicians. 

Post-Wagnerian Instrumentation. A great many loudly pro 
claimed new tendencies in orchestration are nothing but the 
discovery of some single elementary principle. It would be quite 
easy to write a history of post- Wagnerian scoring in which single 
characteristics from each of the historic schools here described 
were assigned haphazard, one to each living composer; and quite 
impossible to argue against its results. The silliest a priori 
theories seem incontrovertible if we forget how music is actually 
made. If, for example, we believe that music is made for instru 
ments instead of instruments being built to make the best music 
they can, we may come to believe in the theory ascribed to 
Stravinsky, that each instrument should produce no passages that 
are not peculiar to its own timbre and inappropriate to any other. 


This is as if no gentleman should ever say anything that could 
be said by a lady ; and vice versa. 

When we have dismissed all such precious nonsense, several 
real phenomena remain. New harmonic ideas, like multiplanar 
harmony, depend inextricably on instrumentation as surely as 
did the classical grammar of counterpoint. Less important is 
what Richard Strauss has called al fresco orchestration. This 
means a perception that there is not only safety in numbers, but 
a high aesthetic value in the average result of sixteen wild-cat 
attacks at a passage that no individual can play properly. It is 
doubtful whether that is the real reason of the splendour of such 
passages. For one thing, the splendour is enhanced by rehearsal, 
and in the best orchestras the players eventually learn such 
passages fairly accurately. 

Mahler made a systematic study of the possibilities of very- 
large orchestras ; almost a quarter of the size of that of our Crystal 
Palace Handel Festivals, but with music specially written for 
them. His Eighth Symphony is a choral symphony requiring at 
least 750 performers, and going much more satisfactorily with 
1,000. Berlioz never really contemplated anything larger. Such 
propositions are not decadent ; they are severely disciplinary and 
require an imagination of the highest efficiency. On a large scale 
most orchestral colours fade especially horns, which must be 
greatly multiplied if they are to tell. 

More fascinating to most artists, and more practical in the 
present lean years, 1 are the aesthetics of small groups and cham 
ber-orchestras. But this is a subject which cannot be pursued 
here. It is as much as a young composer s prospects are worth 
to come before modern critics without a new aesthetic system of 
his own invention. But a general article cannot deal with such 
private affairs. 

1 1927-30. 


AS a definite musical art-form, the madrigal was known by 
the middle of the fifteenth century. It developed on the same 
lines as the Motet (q.v.), some early examples even combining 
an ecclesiastical canto fermo in the tenor with secular counter 
point in the other parts. Thus Josquin s Deploration de Jehan 
Okenheim (see MUSIC) might be called a madrigal if the term 
were used for compositions to French texts at all. But by 
the middle of the sixteenth century the Italian madrigal had 
become the highest form of secular music, and the name was 
appropriated to Italian compositions regardless of the form of 
the words. Only Yonge s Musica Transalpina saved the title for 
English composers, and this by providing singable English texts 
for Italian compositions. When Lasso sets Marot s madrigals he 
calls his compositions chansons. On the other hand, when Pales- 
trina composes Petrarch s sonnets to the Virgin in memory of 
Laura, the result appears as a volume of Madrigali spiritualL 
The fame of these made elegiac madrigals, spiritual or secular, as 
common as livelier kinds. 

The term means a polyphony not inferior to that of the motet, 
and thus distinguishes madrigals from ballets, villanellasjrottolas, 
and other fantastic trifles. Masses were often founded on the 
themes of madrigals, with little more scandal than when they used 
the themes of motets (see MASS; MOTET). Some of Palestrina s 
masses remained in high favour even though they were avowedly 
founded on madrigals with almost risqul texts. 

In the seventeenth century the new dramatic style of Monte 
verdi and the eclectic experiments of Schiitz put the breaking- 
strain upon the madrigal. It had already been overworked in the 
attempt to make music- drama by a choir behind the stage with 
pantomime in front. Vecchi, a great polyphonist, laughed this to 
death in his Amfiparnasso (see OPERA). 

Later uses of the term seldom have a definite meaning, though 
there was a remarkable vitality in the mid-nineteenth century 
efforts of De Pearsall, in pure madrigal style ; while the Madrigale 
spirituals in Stanford s oratorio Eden has the beauty of pure 


1. Polyphonic Masses. As an art-form the musical Mass is 
governed by the structure of its text. The supremely important 
parts of the Mass are those which have the smallest number of 
words, namely the opening Kyrie\ the Sanctus and Benedictus, 
embodying the central acts and ideas of the service; and the 
concluding Agnus Dei. A sixteenth-century composer could best 
write highly developed music when words were few and such as 
would gain rather than lose by repetition. Now the texts of the 
Gloria and Credo were more voluminous than any others which 
sixteenth-century composers attempted to handle in a continuous 
scheme. The practical limits of the Church service made it im 
possible to break them up by setting each clause to a separate 
movement, a method by which Josquin and Lasso contrived to 
fill a whole hour with a penitential psalm. Accordingly the great 
masters evolved for the Gloria and Credo a style midway between 
that of the elaborate motet (adopted in the Sanctus) and the 
homophonic reciting style of the Litany. 

This gave the Mass a range of style which made it to the 
sixteenth-century composer what the symphony is to the great 
instrumental classics. Moreover, as being inseparably associated 
with the highest act of worship, it severely tested the composer s 
depth and truthfulness of expression. The story of archaic and 
decadent corruptions in polyphonic Masses is touched upon in 
the article MUSIC (section iii). In the twentieth century a decree 
of Pius X again inculcated the restoration of the Palestrina style 
to its proper position in liturgical music. But the trouble with 
modern settings of the Mass is not the decadence of an old art 
but a fundamental incompatibility between the modern orchestra 
and a good liturgical style. 

The sixteenth-century Mass was often written for a definite 
day, and when the composer bases its themes on those of his set 
ting of an appropriate motet (q.v.) for that day, the whole musical 
service becomes a single tissue of significant themes. Thus, 
Victoria wrote for All Saints Day a motet, quam gloriosum est 
regnum, and a Mass with the same title and on the same themes. 
The motet is given as an illustration to the article on that subject; 
and the accompanying examples (pp. 86-87) snow the relation 
between the themes of the Mass and those of the motet. 

2. Instrumental Masses in the Neapolitan Style. The Neapoli 
tan composers who created classical tonality and instrumental 
art-forms (see MUSIC, sec. v) created a style of Church music best 
known (but not always best represented) in the Masses of Mozart 




EX.1 Themes of Victoria s Missa: qnam gloriosum est regnum. 

bun each theme are those of the mote* of the same name. See illustration to 


Ky. rie Ky - rie e- lei - 

~ jljfe jl.yLfU- 




C4> oJ * p L# Also recognizable In the Gloria at * in 
11 i gloria Dei Pauls ; in the Credoatet 
1 " - * " 8oa vitamventuriaaeculiJandiHtijeApMW 
^. ^ , Delat auitollispeccatammidi* 

Ex.2 ChriBte(*quo cuinqueierit ) 
Chris t6 * * * 

p^ r } ( f f r rr f 




* Caris - to - W - 

_L-,. f ...,. 

. SOD 

n the Gloria 

Gloria at 
4 to solus 
and io Ag 
nus Dei -at 

(y*;- 1 - j;^j j J : ,t,. 

" ", i r r 

Ex. 3 Kyrie Oseqmmtar Agnnm 1 ) 

* r^rr r w if r 

Ky - ri - e 


MASS 87 

Ex. 4 Gloria . : i 

8 tamicti etolis albis> 

gui se - des ad dex- te - rum Pa - - - iris 


Ex. 5 Hosanna (variation of quoctua^ue lerit in bass and tenor) 

Ho-san-na in ex- cl sis 

T t,_ BrW; T U^ ** U^ 

Jl,H ^ " q | ^l "^^ 

and Haydn. By this time the resources of music were such that 
a reasonably expressive setting of the Gloria and Credo would 
overbalance the scheme. Only a very small proportion of 
Mozart s and Haydn s Mass music may be said to represent 
ideas of religious music at all, though Haydn defended himself 
by saying that the thought of God always made him feel irre- 
pressibly cheerful, and he hoped God would not be angry with 
him for worshipping Him accordingly. The best (and least 
operatic) features of such unabashed music are those which 
develop the polyphonic aspect of the Neapolitan style. Thus 
Mozart s most perfect example is his extremely terse Mass in F, 
written at the age of 17, and scored for four-part chorus and 
solo voices accompanied by the organ and two violins mostly in 
independent real parts. This scheme, with the addition of a pair 
of trumpets and drums, and occasionally oboes, forms the normal 
orchestra of eighteenth-century Masses. Trombones often played 
with the three lower voices. 

3. Symphonic Masses. The enormous dramatic development 
in the symphonic music of Beethoven made the problem of the 
Mass with orchestral accompaniment liturgically insoluble. Yet 
Beethoven s second Mass (in D, op. 123) is not only the most 
dramatic ever penned, but is, perhaps, the last classical Mass 
that is thoughtfully based upon the liturgy. It was intended for 
the installation of the archduke Rudolph as Archbishop of Ol- 
miitz; and though not ready until two years after that occasion, 
it shows much thought for the meaning of a church service, 
unique in its occasion and therefore exceptionally long. Immense 
as was Beethoven s dramatic force, it was equalled by his power 
of sublime repose ; and he was accordingly able once more to put 
the supreme moment of the music where the service requires it 
to be, viz., in the Sanctus and Benedictus. In the Agnw Dei he 


writes as one who has lived in a beleaguered city. ^ Beethoven 
read the final prayer of the Mass as a prayer for inward and 
outward peace 1 , and, giving it that title, organized it on the basis 
of a contrast between terrible martial sounds and the triumph of 
peaceful themes. 

Schubert s Masses show rather the influence of Beethoven s 
not very impressive first Mass, which they easily surpass in 
interest, though Schubert did not take pains, like Beethoven, to 
get his Latin text correct. The last two are later than Beethoven s 
Mass in D and contain many splendid passages, besides a drama 
tic (though not realistic) treatment of the Agnus Dei. 

Weber s two Masses (G and E flat) are excellent works; the 
larger one (in E flat) achieving an ecclesiastical style as good as 
Cherubini s and much less dry. Otherwise, the five Masses and 
the two Requiems of Cherubim are the most important works 
of their period. Those that were written within Beethoven s life 
time made him regard Cherubini as the greatest master of the 
day. Since Schubert s time the Viennese tradition of Mass music 
has been worthily represented by Bruckner. Dame Ethel Smyth s 
Mass (1890) owes nothing to tradition, but is undoubtedly a 
work inspired by its text. 

4. Lutheran Masses. Music with Latin words is not excluded 
from the Lutheran Church, and the Kyrie and Gloria are fre 
quently sung in succession and entitled a Mass. Thus the four 
Short Masses of Bach are called short, not because they are on 
a small scale (which they are not), but because they consist only 
of the Kyrie and Gloria. Bach treats each clause of his text as 
a separate movement, alternating choruses with groups of arias; 
a method independently adopted by Mozart in a few early works 
and in the great unfinished Mass in C minor. This method, 
carried throughout an entire Mass, will fit into no liturgy; and 
Bach s B minor Mass must be regarded as an oratorio. 

The most interesting case is the setting of the words: Et 
exspecto resurrectionem mortuorum et vitam venturi saeculi. 
Amen. The greatest difficulty in any elaborate instrumental 
setting of the Credo is the inevitable anti-climax after the Resur- 
rexit. Bach contrives to give this anticlimax a definite artistic 
value; all the more from the fact that his Crudfixus and Resur- 
rexzt, and the contrast between them, show him at the height of 
his power. To the end of his Remnexit chorus he appends an 
orchestral ritornello, formally summing up the material of the 
chorus and thereby destroying all sense of finality as a member 
of a large group. After this the aria * Et in spiritum sanctum , in 
which five dogmatic clauses are enshrined like relics in a casket, 
furnishes a beautiful decorative design, as a point of repose. 

MASS 89 

Then comes a voluminous ecclesiastical fugue, Confiteor unum 
baptisma*, leading, as through the door and world- wide spaces 
of the Catholic Church, to that veil which is not all darkness to 
the eye of faith. At the words * Et exspecto resurrectionem mor- 
tuorum * the music plunges suddenly into sublime and mysterious 
modulations in a slow tempo, until it breaks out as suddenly 
into a vivace e allegro of broad but terse design, which comes to 
its climax rapidly and ends as abruptly as possible, the last chord 
being carefully written as a^short note without a pause. This 
gives finality to the whole Credo and contrasts admirably with 
the coldly formal instrumental end of the Resurrexit three move 
ments farther back. Now,, such subtleties might be thought 
beyond the power of conscious planning. But Bach s vivace e 
allegro is an arrangement of the second chorus of a Church can 
tata, Gott, man lobet dick in der Stille\ and in the cantata the 
chorus has introductoiy and final symphonies, and a middle 
section with a da capo! 

Until fairly late in the nineteenth century the Sing-Akademie 
of Berlin (and perhaps other choral societies in Germany) main 
tained a laudable tradition according to which its director glori 
fied his office in a Lutheran Mass (Kyrie and Gloria) for sixteen- 
part unaccompanied chorus. Some of these works (notably that 
of C. F. C. Fasch) are very fine. 

5. The Requiem. The Missa pro defunctis or Requiem Mass 
has tended to produce special musical forms for each individual 
case. The text of the Dies Irae imperatively demands either a 
dramatic elaboration or none at all. Even in the sixteenth century 
it could not possibly be set to continuous music on the lines of 
the Gloria and Credo. Fortunately, its Gregorian canto fermo is 
very beautiful and formal; and the sixteenth-century masters 
either, like Palestrina, left it to be sung as plainchant, or set it in 
versicles (like their settings of the Magnificat and other canticles) 
for two groups of voices alternatively, or for the choir in alterna 
tion with the plainchant of the priests. 

A Lies Irae with orchestral accompaniment cannot avoid illus 
trating its tremendous text regardless of ecclesiastical style. But 
it is a sour view that denies the title of great Church music to 
the sublime unfinished Requiem of Mozart (the Italian antece 
dents of which would be an interesting subject) and the two 
important works by Cherubini. These latter, however, tend to 
be funereal rather than uplifting. 

Of later settings, Schumann s belongs to the days of his failing 
power; Henschel s is a work of great sincerity and reticent 
beauty; while the three other outstanding masterpieces re 
nounce all ecclesiastical style. Berlioz seizes his opportunity like 

90 MASS 

a musical E. A. Poe; DvoMk is eclectic; and Verdi towers above 
both in flaming sincerity, no more able to repress his theatrical 
idioms than Haydn could repress his cheerfulness. 

Brahms s Deutsches Requiem has nothing to do with the Mass 
for the dead, being simply a large choral work on a text compiled 
from the Bible by the composer. 


MELODY is the organization of successive musical sounds in 
respect of pitch (Gr. ^eAcoSia, a choral song, from fteAos, tune, 
and 4>S^, song). In its most primitive state it already requires 
rhythm (q.v.) ; but it can develop freely without the aid of har 
mony, which removes it into a wider category. Thus a * melodic 
scale* is a scale that is not based on an harmonic system; and 
thus we call ancient Greek music melodic*. The popular con 
ception of melody as * tunefulness is modern and depends on 
symmetries of harmony and rhythm that seldom occur in re 
corded music before the seventeenth century, and are accidental, 
if frequent, potentialities in older folk-music. For us a melody 
is the surface of a series of harmonies, and an unaccompanied 
melody that fails to imply clear harmonies is felt to be strange 
and vague (see Ex. i and 2). Harmonic rationality and sym- 

Ex. 1 Non-harmonic melody j a bagpipe tune refractory to any harmonization b ey ond 
ones A and E. MacRimmo*, lament* 


[f. $ IULT [f 

*The F$ is very flat and the G decidedly *>harp. 

Ex. 2 Unaccompanied melody with harmonic draughtsmanship capable of 

expressing an enharmonic modulation (FJt=G5). 
* Mtissig langsam WAGNER, Tristan und holdf t Act I 

i i r P P ir * etc * 

J /> * r* ^ / 

Westwards schweift der Blick; ostwarts streicht das Schiff . 

metrical rhythm thus combine to make a tuneful melody an 
epitome of musical form. The historical process is from the 
smaller to the greater. See SONATA FORMS for the gradations be 
tween such melodic forms as that of Barbara Allen (Ex. 3) and 
the larger dance forms of the suite, and for the gradation between 
these and the true dramatic forms of the sonata. 

Ex. 3 Barbara Allen* (showing the germ of binary form in the balance between A* on 
the dominant and A^on the tonic). . 

Lastly, the most narrowly melodic element, the rise and fall 
of pitch, is a capacity of the human voice, and in later forms is 
enlarged not less by the characteristics of instruments than by 
rhythm, harmony, and form. Thus modern melody is the musical 

9 1 


surface of rhythm, harmony, form, and instrumentation; and, if 
we take Wagnerian leitmotives into account, we may as well add 
drama to the list. In short, melody, whether it be in an inner 
part or on the top, is the surface of music. 

An immense number of musical resources are manifested on 
the melodic surface; and the following definitions and illustra 
tions will be found to cover a very wide ground. In fact, one of 
the principal dangers that beset the teaching of composition has 
been the notion that the logic of music can be placed in melodic 
relations without regard to rhythm (especially in its larger aspects 
of phrasing) as well as harmony. 

1. A theme is a melody, not necessarily complete in itself, 
except when designed for a set of variations (q.v.), but recogniz 
able as a pregnant phrase or clause. Thus a fugue-subject is a 
theme, and the expositions and episodes of the sonata forms are 
more or less complex groups of themes. 

2. A figure is the smallest fragment of a theme that can be 
recognized when transformed or detached from its surroundings. 
The grouping of figures into new melodies is the main resource 
of * development * or working-out* in the sonata forms (see Ex. 
5-10) besides being the means by which fugues are carried on 
when the subjects and countersubjects are not present as wholes. 
In sixteenth-century polyphony, melody consists largely of figures 
which are thus broken off from a canto fermo. (See CONTRA 

Ex 4 Melody in keyboard polyphony ? requiring- two parts to complete 
the sense. 

B.vcH. Das Wohltemperirtt. Klavier,!!, Fugxt 15 

Ex. 5 Main theme of the first movement of Beethoven s Trio in B!*, Op. 97. 

rri re" 

ft I 

I_A j ys i 

Ex. 6 Figure A of above developed in a new polyphonic 4 -bar phrase. 

Ex. 7 Further sequential developments of A. 


: etc. 

Ex. 8 Development of C with B. . r | C j ( 

^ K^^JQjgt^: P i._ 

Ex. 9 Further development of B by diminution, ifl combination Wtfhthfc trills derived 


Ex. 10 Further development of B by diminution and contrary motiott(inversion). 

B inverted 


3. A sequence is the repetition of a figure or group of chords 
at different levels of pitch. A real sequence repeats the initial 
group exactly, and therefore changes its key. Thus in the first 
movement of Beethovn s Waldstein Sonata bars 5-8 are a 
step in real sequence below bars 1-4. A tonal sequence repeats 
the figure within the key, and modifies details accordingly, 
tolerating things that would be inadmissible in the initial group. 
In the first movement of the * Waldstein Sonata the theme, with 
a brilliant counterpoint above, is treated in tonal sequence forty 
bars from the end. Repetition at the same pitch is not sequence. 
Thus, in illustration, there are no sequences in Ex. i, but Ex. 4, 
7, 9, and 10 contain tonal sequences. 


4. Polyphony is harmony made of melodic threads. Some 
classical melodies are polyphonically composite, requiring an 
inner melody, appearing through transparent places in the outer 
melody, to complete the sense. This well suits the pianoforte 
with its evanescent tone, but is even more frequent in music for 
earlier keyboard instruments, as in the keyboard works of Bach 
(see Ex. 4). Beethoven often divides a melody between voices in 
dialogue, as in bars 35-42 of the first movement of the Wald- 
stein Sonata. 

5. (a) Conjunct movement is movement along adjacent degrees 
of the scale (Ex. 5, Fig. B), 

(b) Disjunct movement often tends to produce arpeggio types 
of melody, i.e., melodies which trace out a chord, as in Ex. 1 1, 12. 

The rigid devices of inversion, augmentation, and diminution 
are illustrated in CONTRAPUNTAL FORMS and FUGUE. 

The musical examples 5-10 show how Beethoven can develop 
a theme to results unrecognizable but for the intermediate steps. 


BR \HMS, Quintet, Op,34 

Ex. 12 A and B 1 diminished 



Ex.15 Tke tKbelung 1 * Talisman, 


Ex. 1 1-16 show a later kind of metamorphosis requiring no inter 
mediate steps, though the process in Wagner s Ring motive is 

EX.16 Walhalla 


A MUSICAL art-form of paramount importance in the sixteenth 
century. The word is of doubtful etymology, and probably 
has more than one origin. Thus motulus suggests modulus or 
melody, and probably connects with motetus or motellus, which 
designates one of the middle parts in early vocal compositions. 
On the other hand, the Italian word mottetto (diminutive of 
motto) suggests the French mot (in the sense of bon mot) and is 
associated with a profane art-form contemporary with the con- 
ductus and rondel of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. 

The only mature art-form denoted by the word motet is that 
of sixteenth-century pieces of liturgical polyphonic music in one 
or two (rarely more) continuous movements. The word is, how 
ever, used for any single Latin-text composition in continuous 
form, not set sectionally verse by verse, and not forming a per 
manent part of the Mass. Thus Palestrina s Stabat Mater is 
included among his motets; though the text is metrical and 
rhymed, and the style is that of the homophonic litanies. The 
title of motet is also loosely used for non-ecclesiastical works, 
such as the dedicatory motet at the beginning of Palestrina s 
fifth book. 

The most important kind of motet is that which is written ror 
a particular holy day. Such motets are sung between the Credo 
and the Sanctus of the Mass. They are often founded on the 
Gregorian tones of their texts, and the Mass is founded on the 
same themes, thus giving the whole service a musical unity which 
has never since been approached in any Church music even under 
Bach. When a motet was not founded on Gregorian tones it was 
still possible for the composer to design a Mass on the same 
themes, and the titles of sixteenth-century Masses, when they do 
not indicate a secular or diplomatic origin, indicate either the 
motet or the Gregorian tones on which they are founded. The 
accompanying illustration is one of the most perfect examples 
existing, and the illustration in the article MASS shows how Vic 
toria uses the themes of this motet in his Mass with the same 
title. In the present illustration, the bar-strokes (unknown in 
sixteenth-century part-books) are drawn irregularly so as to show 
the free rhythms. Typical points are the runs and slow triple 
rhythm at gaudent ; the note-against-note swinging rhythm at 
amicti stolis albis and the naive illustration of sequuntur 
Agnum*. When such a motet is associated with a Mass it is a 
crime to perform the Mass without it. Sometimes one composer 
founded a Mass on another composer s motet; thus Soriano s 


fine Mass Nos autem gloriari is based upon a motet by Palestrina, 
and Palestrina s Mass Quern dicunt homines is on a motet by 
Willaert. When a motet was in two movements the second move 
ment always ended with the last clauses of the first, both in text 
and in music, producing a distinct impression of da capo form. 
In later times the term motet indicates any piece of Church 
music of clearly single design, reeardless of language or of place 
in a liturgy. 


Original notation a 3rd lower, but this is about the pitch intended. The note is Hypo- 
mixotydian (VIIl) . The first note in the treble is a Long- J , * 2 breves* 4 setnibreves. 

T.L. DA VICTORIA. First Book of Motets 
0* ..... J 

- -i- AJ. 

d r^r -=- .. i"(3 . 

qiuun glo.ri 

in quo cum 

__ _ 

f- r 

est reg 

. in quo 

T I 

r Ml 

1 est . reg - 

- nura In quo cum Chri - - - 


/Oil, j j J J J. J i J j- 

JLr\ t rt. J * * " * \tf 

sto, in quo, 

,JJ T 

quo cum Chri ..... sto, in quo cum 

in quo cum Chri - sto> 

in quo cum 

in quo cum Chri - 

i I J I 

Chri - 

ri f 

,in quo cum Chri sto^ gau 


T 111 ^ 

Chri - - sto, in quo cum Chri - sto } gau 

- dent. gau- - - dent oin - nea 

- - -, d-nt 


sane - - - ti, om lies safle - 

- - ti 

r f 

ii-mic-ti sto4is 

eanc - - - ti, 

a-niic-ti sto-lia al 

- bis, a-mic-ti- 

TTT r 

stolis al - - - Ws 

s<? - qnun - tur Ag - - - Hum, i 
mic-ti sto-lisal - Vis, se - quun-tur 

jj... jijj J V i. ,, 

^ - ti eto-Us al - bis se - quun tur, Ag - - - num, 



- quun * tur Ag 

num. quo - cum - que 






quo cumque i - - - e- rit) quo - 

i. . . e - ritjquo-cum-qxie i- e - ritjquo-cum-que 
I , i , \ i i i J( [ I 

jlJjJj J J 

quo-cum - que i - e - rit quo-cum-que i - e - rit, quo- 

. e - rit, quo - cum - que i- - - - - e - 

f m cum*que i - <" e - rit, 


r rr r 

- . rit. 

rrr n 

e-rit, quocumque i - 

rrr r 

rit, quocumquei * e - ritflxiocumquei - - - e- rit. 


THE Greek {JLOVULK^ (sc. reV 1 *}) from which this word is derived 
was used comprehensively for all the arts of the Nine Muses. 
Contrasted with yu^aoriKTJ (gymnastic) it included the culture 
of the mind as distinguished from that of the body. Thus the 
singing and setting of lyric poetry formed but a small, if a cen 
tral, part of a musical education which ranged from reading 
and writing to the sciences of mathematics and astronomy, be 
sides all the arts of literature. The philosophers valued music, 
both in the ancient general sense and in our restricted sense, 
chiefly as an educational element in the formation of character; 
so that we obtain little light from them on the pure aesthetics of 
the Greek art of musical sounds. 


The present article deals mainly with the musical art-forms 
matured by European civilization since the fourteenth century. 
More ancient music is discussed frankly as beyond our power of 
appreciation except in the light of prehistoric origins. Our 
Western art of music stands in the unique position that its 
language has been wholly created by art. 

Music owes but little to nature in the form of acoustic science, 
and still less to the sounds that occur outside works of art. It 
is already a mature musical art that selects the acoustic facts, 
just as in painting it is art that determines the selection of 
optical facts. Wise critics have, since Ruskin s day, abandoned 
the attempt to settle a priori how much of nature an aesthetic 
system ought to digest; and music differs only in degree from 
literature and the plastic arts in independence of nature. 

Yet the difference is often important. Perspective existed as 
a science before it was taken up by painters, and as a human 
experience before it became a science. The naive Western spec 
tator has seen enough of it in pictures to make him resent its 
neglect, whether in modern art or in the masterpieces of China 
and Japan. In music the nearest analogy to perspective is the 
system of tonality developed by the great composers from Ales- 
sandro Scarlatti to Wagner. (See HARMONY.) Every step in its 
evolution has been fiercely contested; and even twenty years 
after the end of Wagner s long career not every responsible 
musician was ready to admit Wagnerian tonality as a legitimate 
enlargement of the classical system. 

If we set aside language and the organized art of music, the 

102 MUSIC 

power of distinguishing sensations of sound is no more complex 
than the power of distinguishing colours. On the other hand 
sound is the principal medium by which most of the higher ani 
mals both express and excite emotion; and hence, though until 
codified into human speech it does not give any raw material for 
elaborate human art, it suffices for bird-songs that are as long 
prior to language as the brilliant colours of skins, feathers, and 
flowers are prior to painting. Again, sound as a warning or a 
menace is an important means of self-preservation; and it is 
produced instantly and instinctively. 

All this makes musical expression a pre-human phenomenon 
in the history of life, but is unfavourable to the early develop 
ment of musical art. Primitive music could mysteriously re 
awaken instincts more elemental than any that could ever have 
been appealed to by the deliberate process of drawing on a flat 
surface a series of lines calculated to remind the eye of the appear 
ance of solid objects in space. But the powers of music remained 
magical and unintelligible even in the hands of the supreme artists 
of classical Greece. We may be perfectly sure that if the Greeks 
had produced a music equivalent to the art of Palestrina, Bach, 
or Beethoven, no difficulty of deciphering would have effectively 
prevented us from recovering as much of it as we have recovered 
of Greek literature. Some enthusiasts for Oriental lore assure us 
that long ago the Chinese knew all about our harmonic system 
but abandoned it after they had exhausted it. This need not 
worry us. The Oriental aristocrat conceals in his politeness a 
profound contempt for our efforts to patronize ^his culture; and 
that contempt is justified when we show such ignorance of our 
own music as to suppose that a music of similar calibre could 
have utterly disappeared from a living nation whose most ancient 
plastic art and literature command our respect and reward our 
study. When we trace the slow and difficult evolution of our 
harmonic system, we cease to wonder that it was not evolved 
sooner and elsewhere, and we learn to revere the miracle that it 
was evolved at all. 


Music before the rise of a harmonic system is of two kinds, 
the unwritten or extemporaneous, and the recorded or scientific. 
At the present day the music of races that have not acquired 
Western harmony often pleases us best when it seems most ex 
temporaneous. Tradition can go far to fix the forms and even 
the details of a performance that may, without the aid of words 
or dance, last for hours. With words or dance, music becomes 
more capable of being fixed by writing; but the first musical 

MUSIC 103 

problems are as far beyond conscious reasoning as the origins of 
language. Birds solved them before human beings; and folk- 
music can show real beauty when the systematic music of its day 
is arbitrary and uncouth. Moreover, folk-music, together with 
the present music of barbarous races and Oriental civilization, can 
give us materials such as anthropology uses in reconstructing the 
past from its vestiges in the present. 

For us the music of ancient Greece is by far the most impor 
tant branch of musical archaeology. Unfortunately the approach 
to this most difficult subject has been blocked by lack of co 
ordination between scholarship and musicianship ; and the ascer 
tained truth is less instructive to the general reader than the 
history of opinions about it. These opinions begin to be inter 
esting when they are expressed by musicians whose music we 
can understand. The natural tendency of such musicians was to 
suppose that Greek music was like their own ; and each advance 
in knowledge is marked by disillusion. The first difficulty pre 
sented by ancient Greek writers was sufficiently disconcerting. 
The Greek terms for high* and low 1 were found to be reversed. 
Our own meaning seems founded in nature ; and science confirms 
it. Our high* or acute* notes demand tense vocal cords and 
correspond to vibrations of high* frequency. A great sixteenth- 
century composer, Costanzo Porta, inferred a mystery here, and 
argued that the Greeks had mastered the art of a totally invertible 
polyphony, such as Bach afterwards displayed in two fugues in 
Die Kunst der Fuge. Porta accordingly wrote a four-part motet 
(VoUs datum est cognoscere mysterium) which could be sung 
upside down : and his contemporary Vincentino composed four- 
part motets in each of the three Greek genera, diatonic, chromatic, 
and enharmonic. (See Hawkins s History of Music, i. 112, seq.) 
They are as good as any other music written on a priori principles, 
and the enharmonic motet may be commended to some of our 
modern experimenters in quarter-tones. But they represent as 
much knowledge of Greek music as we possess of the inhabitants 
of Mars. 

The truth must be sought by other methods, and by far the 
most promising is the study and comparison of the present scales 
of nations, whether barbarous or cultured, who have not come 
into contact with the classical harmony of the West. 

A readable account of musical origins may be found in Parry s 
Evolution of the Art of Music. Following the researches of A. J. 
Hipkins and A. J. Ellis, Parry illustrates the fact that most of the 
primitive scales, notably the pentatonic scales prominent in Scot 
tish and Chinese music, are built around the interval of a down 
ward fourth (as from C to G), which was probably the first 
melodic interval to become fixed in the human mind as being 

104 MUSIC 

simple enough but not too wide. A scale would begin to form by 
the accretion of other notes near the bottom of this interval. 
Now take another fourth with similar accretions below the for 
mer, either conjunctly (as G to D below the C-G) or disjunctly 
(as F-C). The resulting scale will either fill or include an octave, 
it does not matter which; for the filled octave of the conjunct 
tetrachord contains in another position the notes of the included 
octave of the disjunct tetrachords, as can be seen in the combined 
series C, A, G, E, D, C, A, G. And the octave was recognized 
from the outset as a limit after which a musical series repeats itself. 

The Greeks three genera of scales were the diatonic, ^the 
chromatic, and the enharmonic. Of these the diatonic divides 
the- tetrachord most evenly, as E, D, C, B:A, G, F, E. This 
gives us our diatonic scale in what Palestrina would call the 
Phrygian mode. The Greeks found that all its notes could be 
traversed (as a knight s move can traverse our chessboard) in a 
series of intervals which they call concords. (They thought of 
them only as successions, not combinations of sound.) These 
were the fourth (in the ratio of 4:3); the fifth (3:2); and the 
octave (2:1). (Our own perfect concords are in these ratios.) 
Scales with chromatic tetrachords (E, C#, Ct|, B:A, Fft Ffcj, E) 
could also be traversed by the concordant intervals, but not so 
easily. The enharmonic tetrachords, which only the most accom 
plished singers could sing, were beyond the reach of perfect 
concords; and for us they would need a special notation, as 
E, C, B , B; A, F, E , Efcj; where B and E signify something 
like quarter-tones above the Bfc] and Efcj. Yet this difficult scale 
was said to be the oldest of all ; which seems not unlikely when 
we observe that it gathers three notes closely to the bottom of the 
tetrachord, leaving a gap of a major third from the top. Eliminate 
the quarter-tones, and there remains a pentatonic scale E, C, B : 
A, F, E, which is more likely to be the earliest filling out of the 
downward fourth than the scales in which the auxiliary note is 
a whole tone away. And if this nucleus had the prestige of a 
mystic antiquity musicians would feel a pious pride in mastering 
the difficulty of filling it up like the other genera. 

If authorities on Greek music would abandon their habit of 
writing scales and reckoning intervals upwards, their results, 
whether correct or not, would become much more lucid. For, as 
Parry points out, it is only our harmonic system which makes 
us think of scales as normally rising; and when a musician applies 
the term * cadence to chords that rise from dominant to tonic he 
contradicts the literal meaning of the word. 

Until the most recent times classical scholars have ruthlessly 
closed the door upon all hope of further light from the compari 
son of Greek data with the phenomena of extant non-harmonic 

MUSIC 105 

folk-song and Oriental scales. If such a comparison is to have 
any meaning we must assume that the now universal phenomena 
of modes existed in ancient Greece. Modes, as far as non- 
harmonic melody is concerned, are various cross-sections of a 
standard scale. 1 Thus, Scottish music shows very clearly five 
pentatonic modes. Adding the octave to complete the scale, 
these are, (i) C, A, G, F, D, C; (2) D, C, A, G, F, D; (3) F, D, 
C, A, G, F; (4) G, F, D, C, A, G; (5) A, G, F, D, C, A. In 
the article HARMONY the ecclesiastical modes of pure polyphony 
are given with their fondly-imagined Greek names. Pre- 
harrnonic music without modes is contrary not only to our 
Western prejudices but to the whole trend of anthropological 
research. In these circumstances classical scholars, under the 
guidance of D. B. Monro, crushed all hopes by deciding that the 
Greeks had no modes at all, but that either their ap^owat or their 
rovoi (the terms, whatever they mean, are not synonymous) were 
mere transpositions of the three genera into various pitches, just 
as our keys* are transpositions of our pair of major and minor 

When Monro published his Modes of Ancient Greek Music in 
1894, musicians had learnt too well the lesson that Greek music 
must not be expected to make sense. They would never dispute 
a point of classical scholarship ; and it did not occur to them that 
Monro might be just so innocently familiar with modern music 
as not to realize that he might as well impute high-church ten 
dencies to Alcibiades because of the splendour of his liturgies 
as impute to the ancient Greeks a system of keys related by mere 
transposition. But musicians could only suppose that even the 
most unprejudiced anthropological comparison of extant scales 
was no more able to prevail than Macfarren s Victorian assump 
tions could do in a dispute with Monro. Fortunately in 1916 
Mr. G. H. Mountford, in a degree thesis, satisfied classical 
scholars that Monro was in error and that the Greek modes 
were modes in the universal and proper sense of the term. 

Miss Kathleen Schlesinger found, by experiments with a 
monochord, a means of producing modes on mathematical prin 
ciples. Certainly the Greeks did measure musical intervals 
mathematically on a string; certainly Miss Schlesinger s system 
is among the very first things that could have happened in that 
way ; and its results produce many phenomena that ought to have 
occurred in ancient Greek music. There is, for instance, a re 
markable passage in Plato s Republic (VII. 531) where Socrates 
gibes at the pedantries of the merely practical musicians who 
spend hours in arguing whether this and that note are too near 
to allow another note between them. And Miss Schlesinger s 
various scales comprise between them notes quite close enough 

106 MUSIC 

to explain how the practical musician could get into difficulties 
about what was obvious to the philosopher. Miss Schlesinger, 
moreover, tuned a pianoforte on the basis of her theory, and the 
result is acoustically very interesting. So much then, for a priori 
theory and practical experience. If Miss Schlesinger s results are 
not Greek they ought to have been. 

The other line of approach is through the experience of setting 
the choruses of Greek tragedy to a modern music which confines 
itself to a strict representation of the metre and sets strophe and 
antistrophe to the same melody. The composer should not at 
tempt Greek modes, on whatever theory, or he will achieve 
nothing better than an effect of singing * We won t go home till 
morning* on the supertonic of a minor key and with a beat 
missing. Instead of thus warping his imagination the composer 
should translate all that modern culture enjoys in Greek poetry 
into a music that he can enjoy ; restricting himself mainly to one 
note to a syllable and, while making his instrumental accompani 
ment as beautiful as he likes, straying into no by-paths of musical 
tone-painting other than the most natural symbolisms. The 
Greek rhythmic forms prove musically fascinating, and there is 
full scope for fine melody within them. The strict correspon 
dence of strophe and antistrophe causes difficulties which reveal 
much. Even a unisonous accompaniment, such as the Greeks 
had, can glide over a difference of punctuation or indeed a run 
ning on of the sense between strophe and antistrophe, as at the 
end of the enormous first chorus of Agamemnon; and the tech 
nique of such compromises closely resembles that of Schubert 
and Brahms in strophic songs, and has the subtlety of Greek 
simplicity. Aristophanes, in The Frogs, laughs at the interlinear 
Bparro Qparro Oparr (or plunketyplunk ) of the Aeschylean lyre. 
The passage seems to indicate something more extensive than a 
merely connective tissue; but exaggeration is not unknown in 

More difficult and therefore still more instructive are the occa 
sional contrasts of sentiment between strophe and antistrophe. 
In another chorus in Agamemnon the pretty ways of a lion-cub 
are to be sung to the same music as the tale of disaster that befell 
the man who adopted it when, on growing up, it behaved as 
might be expected. The highest point of pathos in the first 
chorus, one of the supreme things in poetry, is the moment where 
the description of the sacrifice of Iphigeneia turns into a reminis 
cence of her singing in her father s halls and then runs on into 
the antistrophe, with the words *The rest I saw not, nor will I 
tell . After which the same music has to express the pious hope 
that the queen who now approaches shares the wishes of the 
chorus for the welfare of the land she holds in trust. 


From Plato we learn that musicians degraded themselves by 
imitating the roaring of lions and the whistling of winds. But 
what was the Greek criterion for the singing voice? Certainly 
very different from ours; for Aristotle says that certain high- 
pitched modes (but what is high in this context?) are suited 
to the voices of old men. An age-limit is the only criterion the 
heartless modern critic has for the voices of old men. Be this 
as it may, the safest inference from it is that every educated 
Greek was expected to sing well as an integral part of the art of 
speaking well. Perhaps our modern contrast between the sing 
ing and the speaking voice did not exist. Nowadays it is not 
uncommon to find a high soprano speaking normally around the 
A or G below the treble staff. 


The latent harmonic sense of the Greeks is shown in the fact 
that their diatonic scale was amenable to the Pythagorean science 
of harmonic ratios. And we cannot suppose that no notice was 
taken of the combined sounds resulting from reverberation in 
halls and caverns, or from striking several strings of the lyre at 
once. Yet the fact remains that outside the orbit of our own 
Western music of the last six centuries we know of no harmonic 
system that has advanced beyond drones below the melody and 
cymbals (our Authorized Version is right in reading tinkling 
cymbal ) or bells above it. 

Music, as we now understand it, consists in the interaction of 
three elements as inseparable (but not as interchangeable) as the 
three dimensions of Newtonian space. The Greeks knew two, 
rhythm and melody, which are as ancient as human consciousness 
and evidently have their meaning for some other animals. But 
non-harmonic melody is a very different thing from melody that 
implies harmony. (See MELODY exs. i and 2 with their discus 
sion.) When we hear an unaccompanied folk-song we involun 
tarily think of it as the top line of a series of harmonies. If it is 
really pre-harmonic it will prove unamenable to that interpreta 
tion, and then we shall think it quaint. Neither the quaintness 
nor the harmonic interpretation ever entered into its intention. 
Life is too short for Western musicians to devote much of it to 
the violent mental gymnastics of thinking away the harmonic 
ideas that have made Western music enjoyable throughout five 
centuries. We may perhaps widen our experience by going back 
another two centuries ; foi it was agreed by all the musicians in 
Vienna that a concert of * Gothic music was their most inter 
esting musical experience of the year 1928. 

In the article HARMONY the main steps are indicated by which 

108 MUSIC 

medieval musicians advanced from doubling melodies In fourths 
and fifths (as the unoccidentalized Japanese are said to be doing 
now) to an aesthetic system of polyphony that demands com 
plete independence in its melodic threads and forbids consecutive 
fifths and octaves as barbarous. The details of this evolution are 
abstruse; but two main issues may be mentioned here. Poly 
phony could not have been established without fixed scales and 
a repository of known melody for composers to work upon. 

The scale was set in order in Graeco-Roman times by Ptolemy 
the astronomer, who flourished A.D. 130 and from whose time the 
history of the t ecclesiastical modes becomes continuously trace 
able until the records of music are secured by the art of printing. 

The necessary repository of melody was supplied by the 
ancient plainsongs of the Church, many of which claimed to 
have come uncorrupted from the music of Solomon s temple and 
certainly had a continuous history reaching back to early Chris 
tian services in the catacombs of Rome. In A.D. 384 a large body 
of these * tones was set in order by St. Ambrose. According to 
a tradition accepted, after some historic doubts , by good 
authorities, St. Gregory revised and enlarged the Ambrosian 
collection ; and the whole corpus of Gregorian music undoubtedly 
familiarizes Roman Catholics of to-day with a music enormously 
more ancient in its origin than any harmony. This music forms 
the principal melodic foundation of Palestrina s polyphony; but 
by his time it had become corrupted, and we must look to the 
Solesmes edition of 1904 for the text and method of singing plain- 
song in the perfection it is held to have attained shortly after the 
death of St. Gregory. The essential difference between the 
Ratisbon tradition (which we may loosely call Palestrinian) and 
that of Solesmes is that the Palestrinians impatiently curtailed the 
flourishes of the plainsong much as Palestrina did with the 
Gregorian themes he used in polyphony ; whereas the Solesmes 
method restores the free speech-rhythm which makes the flour 
ishes (or melismata) possible in a rapid delivery. Some of these 
melismata are very extensive, and the Palestrinians (who grad 
ually developed the modern organist s habit of providing each 
note of a Gregorian melody with a separate chord) had some 
excuse for mistaking them for corruptions of style. 

The Gregorian tradition did not stand alone. There was an 
ancient Visigoth (or Spanish ) tradition ; and there are the tradi 
tions of the Eastern Church. Professor J. J. W. Tillyard has 
shed much light on Byzantine music, including a promising 
opening in the deciphering of the earliest Neumae, diacritical 
signs above the words, supposed to indicate musical notes. He 
uses the method of interpreting the past from vestiges of primi 
tive usage in the present. Controversies as to the number of 


modes, whether eight or twelve, raged till late in the sixteenth 
century. The Dodecachordon of Glareanus settled the question 
in favour of twelve, as its name implies. Meanwhile composers 
developed polyphony by ear and got no help whatever from the 
theorist. Quite independent of modes and entirely practical was 
the hexachord scheme developed in the eleventh century by 
Guido d Arrezzo. 

The general reader may learn something of the hexachord sys 
tem very pleasantly from the music-lesson in The Taming of the 
Shrew. Hortensio s gamut says *" Gamut" I am, the ground of 
all accord ... U D sol re", one clef [i.e. sign, or key], two notes 
have I " E la mi ", show pity, or I die . Gamut is a survival of 
Greek tradition; for the bottom note of the Greek scale was 
identified with the bass G, and this ground of all accord is 
an octave below the Ut of the hard hexachord. Hence it is 

D is Sol in the hard he X achord{g; J, B, C, D, 

Re in the natural hexachord {g t g; * }. It has 

two names but only one position or *cleP, unlike B which has 
to be flattened in the soft hexachord (F to D). (Morley, writing 
in 1597, calls A flat the B clef.) E is La in the hard hexachord 
and Mi in the natural hexachord. 

Between Fa of the natural hexachord and Mi of the hard hexa 
chord a dissonant tritone fourth exists. It gave great trouble to 
medieval musicians, who assigned it to the devil. Mi contra Fa 
est diabolus in musica. 

To the early harmonic and contrapuntal processes alluded to 
in the article HARMONY some details must be added. The famous 
unwritten songs of the aristocratic troubadours or trouveres of 
the twelfth and thirteenth centuries undoubtedly set the fashion 
in melody, and probably set it in the direction of Sumer is icumen 
in ; that is to say, in the Ionian mode (that modus lasdvus which is 
identical with our major scale) and in a lilting trochaic rhythm. 

J J|J J 

Sumer is icumen in contains no technical feature that has not 
been found in other compositions of its period, but nothing 
within two centuries of it achieves either its euphony or its easy 
handling of canon in four parts on a canonic bass in two. Its 
consecutive fifths which sound licentious to us were in its own 
day the sole justification of the scheme. 

110 MUSIC 

It confirms other evidence that the imperfect concords ^thirds 
and sixths) must have obtained squatter s rights in music in spite 
of theorists; for a very early practice known as ghimel or gymel 
consisted in singing in thirds. This is not merely doubling, for 
the third must oscillate between major and minor according to 
its position in the scale ; and this adjustment requires an advanced 
harmonic system. When scholars tell us that singing in thirds 
was traditional in Britain before the Roman Conquest, we must 
demur, especially when they tell us (in Grove s Dictionary pf 
Music and Musicians, third edition) that we must^not expect to 
find written records of so simple a process*. Similarly we must 
not expect to find ancient Greek written records of so simple a 
process as steam locomotion. Still, let us not be unduly sceptical 
as to the extent to which popular licence and unrecorded extem 
porization could advance beyond all the theoretic lore that scribes 
will record. . 

The troubadours disdained both the practice of accompani 
ment (which they left to their servants) and the art of scientific or 
written music. Not until the time and work of Adam de la Hale, 
surnamed the Hunchback of Arras (c. 1230-88), can we trace 
the development of the troubadour into ^the learned musician. 
Nearly a century later, when literature is unbending from its 
universal Latin and becoming truly universal by becoming ver 
nacular, we find the poet Machault, who stands with Petrarch 
among Chaucer s masters in the technique of verse, producing 
music that marks a technical advance discoverable by grim toil of 
expert analysis. But so far we may pardonably dismiss all such 
archaic work (except Sumer is icumen in) with Burney s sly com 
ment on the earliest piece of recorded music known to him: *It 
is not of such excellence as to make us greatly regret the loss of 
such music ; though the disposition of those who were pleased by 
it may have been a great blessing to them. When music is too 
archaic or inaccessible to give us aesthetic data more may be 
learned from the disposition of those who were pleased by it than 
from its recorded technical data. 

Before the middle of the fifteenth century music had passed 
for ever out of the stage at which we need know other things of 
the composer than his music. As early as 1437 an Englishman, 
John Dunstable, had acquired a European reputation. The 
Golden Age of the sixteenth century had no use for archaic music, 
and Morley in his Plane and Easie Introduction to Practickall 
Musicke quotes Dunstable much as we might now quote Bach if 
all Bach s works were lost except for traces of contemporary hos 
tile criticisms and awe-inspired laudations. To call Dunstable 
the inventor of counterpoint is no better than to call Cadmus 
the inventor of the alphabet. But he is the earliest composer 


whose polyphony is in direct line with that of the Golden Age; for 
Dufay, the first important master of the Netherlands, where the 
true polyphonic tradition was for long thought to have originated, 
is now known to have died in 1474, twenty-one years after Dun- 
stable. And when Dr. Walker, in his History of Music in England, 
praises a motet by Dunstable for its extraordinary distinction of 
style, he is indulging in no pious fancies but is describing per 
manently intelligible aesthetic values. By the end of the fifteenth 
century counterpoint was substantially fixed, practice was still 
imperfect, and aims were uncertain, but skill was increasing, and 
in the sixteenth century we leave archaic music behind. 


From this point onwards the history of music is best studied in 
the masterpieces of the art. Each period has its own art-forms. 
Articles relevant to the Golden Age are HARMONY, Section iii; 


The external history of music is not so easily brought into true 
relation with the art as popular legends would have it. Every 
body is familiar with the story of the drying-up of polyphony in 
the foolish ingenuities of Flemish contrapuntists until, at the 
behest of the Council of Trent, Palestrina wrote the Missa Papae 
Marcelli in a pure and simple style which convinced the authori 
ties that polyphonic music could be devout. The facts are not 
quite so simple. Undoubtedly there was a great deal of barren 
ingenuity in the work of the lesser Flemish masters; and the 
great Obrecht himself had written Masses in which the liturgical 
text is drowned beneath five other texts which each voice sings to 
other plainchants and themes of old songs. The secular tunes 
thus freely introduced were not always sung as canti fermi too 
slow to be recognized. Recognition sometimes even led to the 
singing of the original words. One old song, * L/homme arm^ , 
became the string round which every possible ingenuity crystal 
lized in the composition of the Mass. There is no reason to doubt 
that the state of Church music both deserved and received the 
serious attention of the Council of Trent. 

On the other hand, not all Flemish music was silly, and many 
of the quaintest canonic devices were really nothing but harm 
less cryptography applied to music that was composed on purely 
artistic lines. Burney discovered this when, with his usual flair 
for good illustrations, he quoted some dry ingenuities from 
Okeghem (or Okenheim) and followed them by the wonderful 
Dfyloration de Jehan Okenheim, by that master s great pupil 
Josquin des Pre*s, who is the first unmistakably great composer 

112 MUSIC 

and who has been well named the Chaucer of music*. No 
listener can fail to recognize, from anything like a competent 
performance, the spontaneous beauty and poetic depth of this 
music, throughout which, while the other voices sing an elegy in 
French, the tenor intones in Latin the plainchant of the Requiem 
beginning on a note a semitone lower than the liturgical pitch, and 
continuing in the wailing melodic mode thus produced. Burney 
had the wit to see that the canon un demiton plus bos did not 
mean that some other part was to answer the tenor in canon, but 
was merely the rule* for reading the cryptogram, the tenor 
being written at the normal pitch. 

Many Flemish devices are well calculated to give coherence 
or climax to a large composition. One voice may wander up and 
down the scale with a single figure and a single motto-text while 
the other voices tell their whole story in polyphony. For instance, 
declaim the words Miserere mei Detis in monotone rising one 
step just for the first syllable of Deus. Start on the fundamental 
note of the scale, and at intervals repeat the phrase a step higher 
each time. After reaching the fifth degree go down again. Jos- 
quin s Miserere is a setting of the whole of Psalm 1L, woven round 
a tenor part entitled Vagans and constructed on this plan. It is 
one of the first mature masterpieces in the history of music. 
Palestrina s art is too subtle for rigid Flemish devices ; but once, 
in one of his finest motets, Tribularer si nescirem, he uses Jos- 
quin s Miserere burden in exactly Josquin s way. Lasso is 
thoroughly Flemish in both sacred and secular music ; and in a 
motet on the resurrection of La2arus he makes a soprano Vagans 
cry Lazare, vent for as from the beginning of the narrative until 
the chorus reaches these words, and joins with them in trium 
phant polyphony. 

We must not, then, be misled by the ecclesiastical tradition 
that condemns Flemish music wholesale. In any case the con 
cern of the Church authorities was liturgical rather than artistic. 
The bishops would have been for the most part glad enough to 
see Church music restricted to the note-against-note style of 
Palestrina s litanies, Stabat Mater y Improperia, and last book of 
Lamentations. A very sublime style it is, and Tallis s Responses, 
in their authentic form, are a noble illustration of it. But, as Dr. 
Jeppesen (The Style of Palestrina and the Dissonance) has clearly 
shown, Palestrina s Missa Papae Marcelli shows special signs of 
being a deliberate demonstration that a high degree of polyphony 
can be reconciled with clear choral delivery of the words. Cer 
tainly the ecclesiastical authorities did not long succeed in pre 
venting the use of secular themes in Church music. 

Many great musicians of to-day have a musical culture which 
ignores the Golden Age; and a knowledge of Palestrina is still 


Ex.1 . LaDeplorationdeJekanOkenkeim, for soprano, male alto, two tenors,and bass 
(Barred according to the main rhythms^ 
Phrygian mode transposed 


Nympnesdes bois, De- es-eesdesfon-tai - nes, 

Nymphcsdes bois, Dc^s-eesdes fon - tai- 


ChaH - tres ex - 

J J - 

pers de tou-tes na - ti - 

^ J J .1 . .J- J^^ 

tai - nes, Chan - 

-e e 1 
tres ex 

pers Ac 

- tai - 

. NA 
nes Chan 

tres expers__ 

r r 

i * -ona 

Chan - tres ex - pers- de 

Chan - gez vos voix fort 

~rr^ -rrr 

tou-tes na-ti-ons ^Chan- gez vos voix_ 
OeaT" P? ^TT"^^ ^ 


dc tou-tes na-ti-ons,. Chan- gez vos voix fortclair- 

tou -tes na-ti - o 

Chan - g^z vos 




clairca et_ 

liaultaf . nea. En crhtran<&anl et 

T"l I J. I I 

ct haultai - ncs En 

cristranchants e la 

g - Wt ^ ^ ^^ 

HojTy ~~^N, -* - 

pn . Mr 


claires et haultai > ncs. En 


cristranchants et la-meo- 

la- men-ta-ti - ons: 

Car d A tro . poa 

y-f r " %-^ ^ 

-men-ta - - ti - ons; 



d A-tro-pos les 


^ - r ^- r r^p 

HI ^~ 

a i* 

JQU 1 

-ta-ti- onsj_ 

Car d A-tro-pos 

les mo -les - 
-^ f) ill 

t-ti - on*. _ 

J J cT " 

^ j 



ti - ons , 


Vos - 

^ fr 



les mo - les- ta-ti - ons_ 

Vos . 


Voa - - tre OK - EGH - EM 

r o* J 

J 1 

* p f w 


- f 


r* rr ? 

sa ri-guenr at * 

Vos tn* 


OK - EGH - 

s ~^. 

EM par 

(^ . - r 

** trcOK - EGH - 

EM par 

sa ri-g-ueur at- 

par ea ri - gueur at - trap 
J, I I 

pe Le 

ry J d* J 

|J J . 1 

-trap - pe t 

r r 

Le mi tre - 

sa ri 

-SJ ,J J- i 

goeur at -trap - 



* -trap - pe, 

vrai tre- 

vrai tre - soir de mraique et chef d oeu - rre. 

J J J J 

1 J J 

1 J J 

- soir de 

mu - 

f f f 
sique et 

chef d oeu 


TU - A 

rre. Qui 

Le vrai tre - 

poir de musique 

et chef d oeu - 
J J *Ol 

ti ^ Q " p 

[ f ps^JL? * 

-poir de musique et chef d^eu 


Qui d A-tro-os* de - sownaLiplusrfeschap- pe~ 

Qui d A-tro-pos* dc-soiwnaisplusnV.Bcliap-pe? 


Dont grand dou-mag e est que la ter-re le cou 

J. J.JJ 

Dontgranddou mage es>t quc la 


ter - re le con * vre, dont 

que la ter- re le cou vre 

grand dcu- mage eat qua later-re quc la ter 

- vre, que la ter -re le cou - 

1 III I $ 


grand dou - mage 


la ter -re le cou Tte. 

grand don mage est 


qu* laterrelecmt - vr. 

re Je cou vr# 
?Th(ilfitrHratloEof the wort* lbH3i5ertain.pMrhai these repeated Eotw. are & realistic sob. 




, BRU - 

JJ 1 1 

vous d ha- 

bits de 


f : 

* ^ 


ff 7 ? 


- QUIN, BRtt 

Ac-cous-tre z vous d ha- bits de deuil, JOS - QUIN, 




PE - RE, 

Et plo-rez 

groaa - es 


PE - RE. 

BRU -MEL, PIERCHON, COM-PE - RE. Et plo-rez gross - 
Per - du a - vez VOB - tre bon pe - re. 

Jar - mesd oeuii. Per-du a - vez vos -tre bon pe - re. 
pa - ce. A - men, A - men. 

\jfl t . .. J ^ * 

Re - qui-es-cat in 

pa * ce 



Re-qui-es-cat in 

pa - ce. 




Ee-qui-es-cat in pa - ce. A - men, A 


considered, as it was in the days of Bach and of Beethoven, rather 
an out-of-the-way speciality. This is like a culture based on 
Latin and sceptical of Greek ; good as far as it goes, but limited 
and cocksure, like an eighteenth-century gentleman s artistic 
impressions of the Grand Tour. An illustration of the most per 
fect style of the Golden Age is appended to the article MOTET. 


Until Palestrina s art attained its height, the path of progress 
in music for the best part of two centuries was that of purity. It 
was not the free and bold spirits but the idlers and dullards who 
broke rules and disliked contrapuntal forms. The Hispano- 
Roman style of Victoria and Palestrina was not everything. It 
was not secular (though Palestrina s madrigals make him as 
supreme in that form as in Church music), and it was not, like 
our glorious English polyphony, experimental or racy of the soil. 
But it was metropolitan, and the boldest of our Tudor composers 
would have been no such fools as not to hold it supreme. But 
already before the death of Palestrina a new music was groping 
towards the light ; and for this music the path of progress was no 
more that of purity than the path of omelette-making is that of 
the conservation of egg-shells. 

Eve s apple was not more fatal to man s earthly paradise than 
the rise of instrumental music and dramatic solo declamation was 
to the hope of continuing the Golden Age of music into the seven 
teenth century. The revolution did not consist in this detail or 
that. To say that Monteverdi invented the dominant seventh, 
or that any one else invented it, or that any such invention could 
revolutionize music, is like saying that Shakespeare revolution 
ized drama by inventing strange oaths. The important point is 
not the technical names of the details but their meaning. When 
Lasso was young some experiments in chromatic music had been 
made by Cipriano de Rore, and were eagerly imitated by Lasso. 
But what is Lasso s object in being the first person to write such 
an out-of-the-way note as AJ? Simply to express the words 
novum melos. Very different from such intellectual playthings is 
the purpose of the powerful discords of Monteverdi s madrigal 
Cruda Amarilli and of the monodic lament of Ariadne which 
drew tears from the spectators of his opera Arianna. 

In the Encyclopaedia Britanntca article, MONTEVERDI, will be 
found further remarks on his importance and on his coincidence 
in place and time with the creators of the violin. (See also OPERA 
in this book.) The Palestrina style henceforth became the right 
ful privilege only of those composers who, either having mastered 
it before monody arose, or, like our own Orlando Gibbons, living 

MUSIC 119 

in regions too remote for it to penetrate, could still compose poly- 
phonically from impulse and not from asceticism. Orlando 
Gibbons did, in fact, try some mono die experiments, which are 
poor enough. 

An impulsively eclectic composer is another matter; and in 
uncouth, illogical Germany a giant such as Schiitz could almost 
fill the century before the birth of Bach and Handel, with a life s 
work ranging from the pure polyphony of his Venetian master 
Gabrieli to the exploitation of all his * astute friend* (scharfsm- 
nigerFreund) Monteverdi s new principles in most gigantic efforts 
in mixed vocal and instrumental polyphony. From Schiitz we 
can extract no such system as that which makes Monteverdi a 
favourite subject in musical history; but in Schiitz s chaos the 
elements may at any moment come together in some strange work 
of art that fits into no historical or technical scheme but speaks 
clearly to us through its own coherence. Schiitz s * astute friend 
always knows what he is doing and whither his work is leading; 
but, except in a madrigal here and there, which was not his 
proper business, he does not produce a convincing work of art 
so often as Schiitz who seems to have no proper business at all. 
It is to the astute, logical Italians that we must look for the pro 
gress and consolidation of musical art in general during the 
seventeenth century; but we must not let the enthusiasm of his 
torians make us think that such a ceatury of progress was a period 
of great music. The historians themselves are apt to neglect the 
intrinsic values of the seventeenth-century compositions and to 
estimate them merely for their tendency towards something that 
was to take convincing shape later. The early seventeenth cen 
tury was, in fact, musically not unlike what we have so far ex 
perienced of the twentieth; the eyes of musicians and music- 
lovers were at the ends of the earth prophesying Wagner, when 
all that the whole century could finally achieve was the da capo 
form of aria. 

Monteverdi and his fellow monodists had, in no mood of 
caprice, moved in the one direction that was universally impor 
tant for music; yet their formless declamation soon palled, and 
its method survived only by becoming codified into the formulas 
of recitative, which are happy idealizations of Italian speech- 
cadence, and which survive as dramatic idioms in all music even 
at the present day. The invention of recitative has been 
ascribed to this or that monodist, with as little room for dispute 
as when we ascribe the invention of clothes to Adam and Eve. 
Any vocal music which, whether from inability or from disin 
clination, avoids organizing symmetrical melody, will be called 
recitative. When Wagner was still a subject of controversy, critics 
on both sides used to say that Das Rfidngold was all recitative. 

120 MUSIC 

Two tendencies converged to make music become formal aftei 
the * first fine careless rapture of monody was spent. First, the 
dramatic stage, with baroque scenery in magnificent development 
as early as 1667, in Cesti s Porno d Oro, greatly encouraged the 
ballet; so that when serious musicians cultivated the stage they 
also cultivated dance-music. This, however, was less important 
than the rise of the violin. Monteverdi had already understood 
its importance ; and one symptom of the decadence of polyphony 
had been the growing habit of solo-singers to sing the top parts 
of madrigals with all manner of ridiculous flourishes. Persons 
less legendary than King Cole felt the fascination of the tweedle- 
dee of the fiddle ; the great Dutch polyphonist Sweelinck used 
to adorn his organ works with passages of imitatio violinistica * ; 
and the last quarter of the seventeenth century saw the brilliant 
work of Biber with his queer abnormal violin-tunings, and the 
sober classical sonate da chiesa and sonate da camera > of 
Corelli. Artistically as well as morally this development of the 
violin was healthier than that of the voice, wherein coloratura 
singing tended to become an acrobatic monstrosity though it had 
first been regarded as a means of emotional expression. A talent 
for the violin was no danger to a boy ; but a beautiful voice put a 
boy in deadly peril in an age when all the great opera-singers 
were castrati. Even Haydn had a narrow escape in his youth. 

And yet there is, on the whole, more beauty than decadence in 
the vast mass of solo vocal music produced between 1630 and 
1760. That period takes us from the advent of mature instru 
ments and instrumentalized music to a time beyond the death of 
Handel Except for the device of the ground-bass (see VARIA 
TIONS) the first form that emerged from chaos organized itself on 
a method of balance between a solo voice and a group of instru 
ments, together with a development of melodic form by means 
of a firmly established classical key-system. The result was the 
classical aria, one of the most effective art-forms ever reduced to 
the capacity of normal musicians. It entirely destroyed the 
dramatic character of opera for a whole century; but this has 
been lamented with unnecessary vehemence. With the exception 
of the early monodic works and of PurcelFs Dido and Aeneas, 
opera before Gluck is not an art-form at all; it is merely a name 
for the spectacular conditions under which the eighteenth-cen 
tury public could be induced to listen to a string of thirty arias 
by one composer who could either handle no other forms or find 
no listeners for them. The article ARIA shows the intimate con 
nexion of this form with that of the concerto. Other art-forms 
developed in the seventeenth century for use in the eighteenth 
FORMS, and SUITE. Matters of style and texture are discussed in 

MUSIC 121 


monodic composers are Caccini, Cavalieri, Cesti, Peri, and Monte 
verdi, besides Artusi and Banchieri, who wrote against Monte 
verdi s earlier works with well-grounded demonstrations of their 
subversive effect on pure polyphony. The survival of polyphony 
in grimy and pompous decadence is represented by Pitoni, and 
later and more as a renascence by Lotti. Early violin music is 
represented by Biber and Corelli. 

The short career of Purcell ends twenty years after the death 
of Schiitz and ten years after the birth of Bach and Handel. 
Almost any random quotation from Purcell might be by a com 
poser of the calibre of Bach or Handel. Purcell is one of the 
greatest contrapuntists that ever lived ; one of the greatest inven 
tors of themes ; one of the greatest masters of declamation ; and a 
completely mature master of early orchestration. And his fellows 
in the English music of the Restoration, Pelham Humfrey, Child, 
and Blow, were no mean spirits. Burney devotes an entire plate 
in his History of Music to examples of * Dr. Blow s crudities ; and 
later historians need look no farther afield for examples of intelli 
gent prophecy. But our Restoration music lacks one thing; and 
that is power of composition. Purcell, in small dance-forms and 
short lyrics, is unsurpassable. But his only chance of getting 
through a sustained movement is when he writes on a ground- 
bass. In this fascinating forlorn hope of English music we see 
the fruit of nearly a century of bold endeavour ripening a genera 
tion too soon. Parry ascribes the patchiness of Purcell to the 
subtle humour of Charles II in sending his best chorister to learn 
from Lully, the master of the French ballet-opera, how to write 
English Church music. But Lully is not patchy, and Purcell s 
music is a crazy-quilt, purple with foreshadowings of the music 
of the future. 


If all music between 1685 and 1759 were annihilated except the 
work of Bach and Handel, the ordinary music-lover would miss 
nothing but a large collection of decorative and decorous violin 
music and a still larger collection of arias ; and to most of these 
favourite gemme d antichita the mid-nineteenth-century editor 
has contributed much of their lusciousness. For us the age of 
Bach and Handel is the age of nobody else in music, , But the 
contemporaries of Bach and Handel thought of Handel as a 
fashionable opera-writer who with advancing years developed 
choral music as a pious fad; while nobody thought of Bach except 
people within coaching-range of Saxony, where Bach was known 
as a wonderful organist and an impracticably deep scholar. The 

122 MUSIC 

polyphony of Bach and Handel stands almost alone in an age when 
polyphony was utterly unfashionable. It was inculcated as a 
staple subject in musical education; but to carry it into mature 
art was to discuss Latin grammar in the drawing-room. The 
opportunities and the difficulties of early symphonic orchestra 
tion alike arose from the neglect of polyphony after 1750. Apart 
from Bach and Handel, that neglect can be traced much further 
back, and it characterized musical connoisseurship much later; 
so that Burney could say of Philipp Emanuel Bach that where- 
ever he got his beautiful and natural style from it was not from 
his father, for that eminent organist, though profoundly versed 
in all devices of canon and fugue, was so fond of crowding all the 
harmony he could into both hands that he must inevitably have 
lost melodic grace. 

The vast and accurately-perfected aesthetic system of Bach 
and the improvisatorial opportunist eclecticism of Handel are 
discussed under various headings in this book. But, while this 
information covers the aesthetic values of the period, it tells us 
little of its historic trend. We must not look for light from the 
spirit of the age as shown in its politics or even in its religious 
history. Palestrina writes, from habit and preference, a devout 
music which neither Luther nor the Council of Trent could blame 
as representing the spirit of the age ; and Bach achieves the ideal 
Lutheran music while Voltaire is at the court of Frederick the 

The music that pleased the contemporaries of Bach and Handel 
was that which continued, not too elaborately, the Neapolitan 
tradition founded by Alessandro Scarlatti. Lully (an Italian by 
birth) took this tradition to France, and transformed Italian opera 
by encouraging the French taste for the ballet. Rameau, greatest 
of classical French composers and epoch-making theorist, carried 
on the Lully tradition in opera, and joined forces with the ex 
quisite school of clavecinistes, whose leader, Couperin, was 
admired and imitated by Bach in his suite-forms. Italian violin 
music and concertos in the Neapolitan style were produced by 
composers who were also great players. The enormous industry 
of Bach and Handel was nothing unusual. Arias could be written 
as easily as letters, and distributed by thirties in operas. Ora 
torios and Church music, though less fashionable, were more 
highly organized; mainly because they kept choral music in 
being. And thus the Neapolitan tradition of choral music passes 
straight into the polyphony of Mozart, quite independently of 
Handel and wholly ignoring Sebastian Bach, of whom Mozart 
knew not a note until he was grown up. Meanwhile cultured 
Europe was unvexed by doubts as to who were the immortals. 
The Handel-Bononcini rivalry had been little more than a nine- 

MUSIC 123 

days wonder. Six years after Handel s death, the seven-year-old 
Mozart in London dedicated his violin sonatas to Queen Char 
lotte in the hope that under Her Majesty s protection je devien- 
drai immortel comme Haendel et Hasse. _ Graun would probably 
have been the third name of European repute ; and Telemann, 
the most voluminous composer of his voluminous day, was a 
great figure in his own country. As for Bach everybody in 
London knew Mr. J. C. Bach, of the Bach and Abel concerts, 
and report said that his father had been a great musical 

Behind the dignified musical history, but not (like Sebastian 
Bach) aloof from it, vital forces were at work in comic music- 
drama. This was admitted by way of intermezzi between the 
acts of serious operas. One of these intermezzi, La Serva Padrona 
by Pergolesi (known in the nineteenth century by his conventional 
Stabat Mater for two-part female chorus), not only broke from 
its moorings, like many other intermezzi, but found its way to 
Paris where it created a furore of popular success and precious 
disputation dividing musical Paris into Buffonistes and Anti- 
buffonistes. Except for the untimely blossom of English opera 
in the hands of Purcell in the previous century, this is the only 
moment at which opera after Monteverdi and before Gluck (with 
all respect to Rameau) becomes a genuine art-form instead of a 
concert on the stage. Rameau is equally important in three 
capacities as a master of French opera, a livelier master of instru 
mental music, and a great theorist. German beginnings of 
serious and comic music-drama were sumptuously inaugurated 
at Hamburg by Keiser, whose influence is traceable in Handel s 
first opera Almira. 


The fashionable distaste for polyphony was a mere negative 
force in the early eighteenth century. The positive force was, as 
in the mono die revolution a hundred and fifty years earlier, an 
impulse towards drama. Unlike the monodists who, when they 
rejected polyphony, had no power of composition beyond the 
single musical sentence, the eighteenth-century musicians could 
easily cover ten minutes with a well-balanced form; and the 
problem of making such forms dramatic was no longer confined 
to the monodist s problem of making them rhetorical. On the 
contrary, the rhetoric had to be demolished; for the action of 
drama is not the action of rhetoric. 

The distaste for polyphony was no unfavourable condition for 
the rise of dramatic music; it was the inverse aspect of a growing 
sense of contrast in various textures cheap and valueless in them- 

124 MUSIC 

selves. The rest of the story is told in the articles, INSTRUMENTA 

It is inadequate to call Gluck a reformer of opera. Music 
itself was not dramatic before Gluck made it so. Hence it is a 
mistake to separate Gluck s * reform* from the whole process of 
the development of the sonata style. Lastly, we miss the whole 
meaning of that style unless we realize that as soon as it arose 
the purely instrumental music became more dramatic than any 
drama. At the same time it also became more powerfully archi-. 
tectural than any earlier music. The art comprised in the works 
of Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven constitutes one unbroken 
aesthetic system, more universal in emotional range than any art 
since Shakespeare, and as perfectly balanced as the arts of ancient 
Greece. Until the end of the nineteenth century it would have 
seemed a paradox to maintain that Beethoven s work belonged to 
the same aesthetic system as Haydn s and Mozart s; for critics 
were slow to escape from the habit of estimating works of art by 
the face value of their subjects and the dignity of their language. 
And the language of Haydn and Mozart corresponds with that 
of the comedy of manners, while Beethoven is the most tragic 
composer that ever lived. Nevertheless the huge expansion which 
music underwent at Beethoven s hands was no revolution, and 
the popular idea of Beethoven as a revolutionary artist is based 
on two errors: first, the commonplace habit of seeking parallels 
between the works of genius and the personal eccentricities of 
their authors, and, secondly, the inadequacy of orthodox doctrine 
on musical forms. This inadequacy results from the fact that 
the doctrines are contemporaneous with the compositions and are 
accordingly hostile to all but the easiest conventions. A proper 
grammar of a classical art requires something of the attitude of 
the unjustly despised Byzantine scholars who sacrificed aesthetic 
pleasures in humble devotion to the task of securing the texts. It 
is when the languages are dead that they live for ever and suffer 
no corruption. 

We need not expect scholarship in the orthodoxies that were 
current as to musical forms used in the lifetime of the classics 
themselves. (See FUGUE for a demonstration of the irrelevance of 
traditional doctrine on that art-form.) Still more impertinent is 
our orthodoxy on sonata forms. It ignores the differences be 
tween Haydn and Mozart which are as radical as any innovation 
Beethoven introduced; and, having thus cut away all ground 
for appreciating Beethoven, treats him as the central symphonic 
classic, and also as a stupendous revolutionary. This result is 
correct as far as it goes: central classics can be stupendous revo 
lutionaries. But correct pious opinions are the healthier for facts 
that can give us a right to them, and the beginning of the nine- 

MUSIC 125 

teenth century was unfortunately the beginning of an age of 
humbug in musical education. One consequence is that many a 
musical revolt purports to revolt against the classics when its 
nearest contact with classical forms has been the perky generaliza 
tions of text-books by writers who regarded the great masters as 
dangerous, and who deduced their rules from the uniform pro 
cedures of lesser composers. Now these procedures were often 
derived from one or two popular works by the greatest men : thus 
Beethoven himself produced one model sonata (op. 22) if its 
* first subject had only been long enough. And if Mozart s great 
C major Quartet had not such a subversive introduction it might 
(and did) serve as a jelly-mould for all the quartets of Spohr. 
Take another jelly-mould from Spohr, and you have classical 

But now comes the fundamental difficulty in all attempts to 
distinguish the classical from the pseudo-classical. Every indi 
vidual work must be judged on its own merits. No generaliza 
tions are trustworthy. Many movements by Mozart are as alike 
as peas. But, being alive, they are not as alike as buttons. With 
Mozart and Haydn the individuality of each work is all-important 
for the critic, and if he neglects this all that he says about the 
common form is superficial. On the other hand, the materials of 
Beethoven s work developed so rapidly that he seems to be driven 
to invent a new technique for almost each composition. Hence 
the external differences become obvious; and unless the critic 
penetrates to the common form he is lost. 

With the symphonic classics we enter the period when these 
considerations become important; for there is no gulf between 
that period and our own. No musical art known to Haydn has 
suffered, as did the art of Bach, a period of total eclipse; nor, on 
the other hand, has it preserved a character that Haydn could 
have understood. Not much light is shed on Haydn and Mozart 
by calling them court composers, and little more on Beethoven 
by calling him a child of the French Revolution. In an age of 
court patronage Bach the theologian had been inspired to write 
warlike music not more by ancestral memories than by scriptural 
texts of war in Heaven. Mozart and Haydn were restive in the 
service of courts, and their musical language was that of the 
comedy of manners when it was not racy of the soil. In Paris, 
where musicians might be expected to know most about the 
French Revolution, the modest, lovable Etienne Mehul (famous 
for the biblical opera Joseph) produced his prettiest comic operetta 
Le Jeune Sage et le Vieux Fou in the year of the Terror; and on 
French music the immediate effect of these tremendous days was 
the rise of a new type of sentimental opera concerning the hair 
breadth escapes and sufferings of the political prisoner rescued 

126 MUSIC 

by the heroic wife. Hence Cherubim s Les Deux Journe es (The 
Water-Carrier) and Beethoven s Fidelio. Genius is the wind that 
bloweth where it listeth. In Bach s day Beethoven would have 
been the musical interpreter of the Apocalypse; and in this 
twentieth century Bach would be something like Dr. Schweitzer. 
When we contemplate the impassable gulf that separates 
Bach s art not only from Haydn s and Mozart s but from the 
apparently more kindred spirit of Beethoven, we find it hard to 
realize that contemporaries were unaware of any catastrophic 
development. In the case of choral music a little study shows 
us that its forms and language remained Neapolitan. Haydn s 
and Mozart s masses are flamboyant Neapolitan music; and 
Michael Haydn, who was merely decorative as an instrumental 
composer, was rightly thought by his brother to be the better 
man at Church music. Again we regard Philipp Emanuel Bach 
as bridging the gulf between his father s and the new art; 
but Philipp Emanuel was writing quite mature sonatas in the 
year of his father s B minor Mass and his last set of sonatas was 
produced in the year of Mozart s Don Giovanni. Clementi, born 
in the year after Bach s death, was an infant prodigy of eight when 
Handel died; he had developed an extraordinary massive and 
genuine pianoforte technique (more powerful than beautiful) 
when he encountered Mozart in a musical tournament, and he 
survived Weber, Beethoven, and Schubert. Nothing can be 
gained by a further attempt to summarize this * Viennese period. 
We may call it the period of the sonata and of Mozartean comic 
and French romantic opera. More particular information is given 
in the technical articles in this book. 


With the romantic period comes the development of lyric 
music in the forms of songs and short pianoforte pieces. Schu 
bert, Weber, Spohr, Mendelssohn, and Schumann would be the 
romantic composers in this sense, and many contemporaries 
would have added Cherubim to the list, for they thought of him 
not as the martinet who directed the Paris Conservatoire but as 
the composer of Les Deux Journees. Romanticism was thrilling 
and classicism was cold. 

But this list traverses another sense of the term which opposes 
the romantic to the classical. The classical is in this connexion 
identified with both formalism and mastery. Mendelssohn and 
Spohr chose romantic subjects to no purpose ; their mastery was 
unromantically slick (there is no other word for it) and Spohr s 
forms were more thoroughly ascertained than anybody else s 
except those of Mozart s brilliant pupil, J. N. Hummel. Mendels* 

MUSIC 127 

sohn s forms were free ; but he never got into difficulties, so how 
could anybody recognize his freedom? Philipp Emanuel Bach s 
vein of sentimental rhetoric was not only typically romantic but 
enabled him to write some genuinely lyrical songs. J. Schobert 
is another romantic writer who influenced Mozart at an impres 
sionable time of his boyhood. Every thrilling modulation in 
Beethoven s music was romantic, and so were the double-bass 
passages at the beginning of Cherubim s Overture to Les Deux 

But the facts are more interesting than this generalization. 
Mastery is not the line of cleavage that ranges Spohr and Men 
delssohn on the one side and Schubert, Schumann, and Chopin 
on the other. Beethoven s later tonality and polyphony had 
made music ready for lyric forms which he himself adumbrated 
in a few of his Bagatelles for pianoforte and in some sporadic good 
things among his songs. Mendelssohn and Spohr took up song- 
writing and produced in that line masterpieces for the drawing- 
room. We ought not to despise the drawing-room. Schubert 
became the supreme master of song, and Schumann achieved 
greatness there as in his pianoforte lyrics ; but you might as well 
think of Keats and Shelley as writers for the drawing-room. 

Another line of cleavage separates Schubert from Schumann 
and Chopin as fundamentally as it separates him from Mendels 
sohn and Spohr. When Schumann and Chopin handle the large 
classical forms they show obvious weaknesses. Schumann makes 
an effective new artificial sonata form out of his stiff, antithetic, 
epigrammatic style, as a man might construct a landscape in 
mosaic. Chopin merely shows that he has taken the sonata forms 
uncritically from Hummel, though the first two movements of 
the B flat minor Sonata are almost as happy in their classical form 
as the Ballades are in Chopin s unique way. But Schubert s large 
forms have only the weaknesses of youth, and their positive 
qualities and tendencies set him above all schools and indicate 
that if he had lived we should not so readily have closed an 
historic chapter with Beethoven. The mastery that Schubert 
lacks is not anything that Spohr could have supplied. Younger 
composers with new worlds to conquer could with some truth 
accuse Spohr of playing with classical forms as one might play 
chess; but they coujd never have so accused the Schubert that 
died young or the Schubert that might have reached old age. 

We do not know what Mendelssohn might have achieved if 
he had lived longer. His influence on the musicians he knew 
personally was wholly stimulating and good. But he too seemed 
able to play chess with symphonies, oratorios, and songs with and 
without words, while other composers were grappling in their 
music with real life, perhaps confined to one narrow art-medium 

128 MUSIC 

like Chopin, or, like Schumann, deserting lyrics for larger forms 
or some artificial hypothesis, or, like young Berlioz, kicking right 
and left against all teaching and all criticism while dreaming new 
wonders of orchestral sound, and correctly dreaming the practical 
means to them also. 

Meanwhile a greater than Berlioz was arising, a dreamer of 
new sense as well as sound. Mendelssohn and Schumann saw 
only the beginning of Wagner s development, and could not feel 
very sure that this voluble and stormy reformer of music-drama 
was really likely to achieve anything better than the tinsel of the 
astute Meyerbeer who dominated the world of cosmopolitan 
opera. The early style of Wagner is indeed an alloy of many 
metals besides iron and potter s clay; but even in the forties his 
work marks the eclipse of the first romantic period and the dawn 
of another and greater epoch. 

The art-forms peculiar to the Romantic period have no definite 
names, though composers began to use many literary titles, such 
as Ballade, Romance (already used by Mozart for slow move 
ments in sonata form), Nocturne, and the like. Dance-rhythms, 
especially those of Poland, were brought into prominence in the 
pianoforte music of Chopin. Mendelssohn s invention of the 
Song without Words was very successful, but the notion is too 
facile to lead far, or always, even in Mendelssohn s hands, to 
justify its existence. Fantastic titles, used in the eighteenth cen 
tury by the French clavecinistes, assumed great prominence in the 
pianoforte works of Schumann, who created a new type of long 
connected cycles of epigrammatic little pieces. The article PRO 
GRAMME MUSIC concerns this period vitally. The crowd of piano 
forte composers whose brilliance on that instrument obstructed 
all wider musical prospects include the respectable Hummel, the 
less respectable Steibelt, the flimsy Woelfl, and the Irish writer 
of beautiful pre-Chopin nocturnes, John Field. 


Wagner formulated his principles of music-drama long before 
he matured his musical style. It is impossible to understand the 
musical history of the second half of the nineteenth century until 
we frankly admit that the composers of instrumental music saw 
in Wagner, not only the subversive operatic theorist and erotic 
dramatist, but the composer who was popular because of the 
Salvation Army religiosity of the end of the Tannhduser Overture, 
and the downright vulgarity of the entr acte before Act III in 
Lohengrin. His theories and methods might be controversial, but 
these lapses never were. 

MUSIC 129 

Strange to say, Wagner received something like recognition 
from the doyen of classical champions, Spohr, whose attitude to 
Beethoven had been merely condescending, but who saw in Der 
Fliegende Hollander and Tannhduser interesting, if faulty, works 
which well deserved painstaking production at his theatre at 
Cassel. Schumann too, after joining in the general hostility 
towards Tannhduser, frankly recanted and praised its many noble 
features. Personally he and Wagner did not get on well ; he found 
Wagner too talkative and Wagner found that Schumann had 
nothing to say. Later on, when Wagner was in exile, Lohengrin 
found a powerful champion in Liszt at Weimar. 

Liszt presented another problem to sober musicians. Wagner 
himself at first saw nothing in Liszt but the virtuoso who, when 
asked for music, would give you a fantasia on Robert le Diable. 
On the other hand, persons who became bitterly hostile to all the 
musical tendencies that Liszt fostered went out of their way to 
declare that no such wonderful interpretations and technique as 
Liszt s pianoforte playing had ever before been heard on any 
instrument or orchestra. All Liszt s gestures were superb, from 
his monumental immobility at the pianoforte to his princely and 
often really self-sacrificing generosity to other musicians. And 
at the age of 37 he made the most superb of all his gestures in 
giving up playing in public. And so the one incontrovertible 
power of his art became a legend and his actual activity became 
the championship of unorthodox artists. He took to composing 
on a more ambitious scale than that of the marvellous pianoforte 
virtuoso ; and became himself the leader of a new development of 
romantic music. Although he took little pleasure in counterpoint 
he had none of Berlioz s clumsiness in harmonic texture ; and his 
orchestration, in which his first efforts had the secret assistance 
of Raff, was always brilliant and novel, though it never caught the 
Beriiozian fire or plumbed the Wagnerian deeps. Liszt realized 
no more than did Berlioz the true musical purport of the new 
ideas which his symphonic poems and Berlioz s symphonic- 
dramatic phantasmagorias were putting forward under all kinds 
of literary and pictorial names. While the new romantic com 
posers purported to be devoting instrumental music to the illus 
tration of literature (see PROGRAMME MUSIC), they were really 
struggling with a new musical time-scale. 

As we have already seen in the present article and in the dis 
cussion of HARMONY, musical history may be traced in terms of 
the time-limit over which the listener s memory is brought into 
play. In the sixteenth century that limit is from accent to accent ; 
by the end of the seventeenth century it ran from phrase to 
phrase. The great architectural forms of Bach could stretch it 
easily to six minutes, and in extreme cases to ten. The rise of 

130 MUSIC 

the dramatic sonata style did not greatly enlarge the time-scale; 
for there are few well-constructed sonata movements that exceed 
a quarter of an hour, though on no smaller scale could Beethoven 
have prepared the famous harmonic collision that gave such 
offence in the first movement of the Eroica* Symphony. Now 
this ten-minute time-scale obviously compelled musicians to 
handle the action of an opera by means of conventions. (See 
OPERA.) It is less obvious that it also produced a similarly con 
ventional artifice in the relation of sonata forms to their emotional 
content. A design may complete itself in ten minutes while 
raising emotional issues that cannot be dealt with in less than 
forty. And so the sonata forms are grouped in from two to four 
(rarely more) movements as artificially as the musical sections of 
classical operas. Wagner s enormous achievement in music- 
drama consisted essentially in giving music the same time-scale 
as that of the drama. As with all first solutions of an art-problem, 
he achieved an extreme case, for his drama became cosmically 
slow. But from Das Rheingold onwards every Wagnerian opening 
instantly, and without any introductory gestures, lays down the 
lines of its vast time-scale, to the utter bewilderment of his con 
temporaries, who continued to expect Das Rheingold to show its 
pattern on Beethoven s time-scale, just as Beethoven s contem 
poraries had heard seven pianissimo bars on the chord of E flat, 
not as that vaulted vacancy appears in the middle of the Andante 
of the C minor Symphony, but as it would have sounded if it 
were intruded into an andante by Mozart. 

Nobody else before Richard Strauss achieved Wagner s mas 
tery of his new time-scale; and few, if any, of his contemporaries, 
whether hostile or friendly to him, realized its existence. Liszt 
was trying, in his symphonic poems, to make a music that filled 
its half-hour or forty minutes continuously; but his first effort of 
the kind, Ce qu on entend sur la montagne, spends the first twenty 
of its forty minutes in a series of introductions, and the remaining 
twenty in retracing the series backwards. And his more success 
ful efforts, such as Orpheus and Les Prdludes, are either essentially 
lyric or not on the new time-scale at all. He never achieved so 
effective a symphonic poem as Schubert had already long ago 
unwittingly produced in the Wanderer* Fantasia. ^ Musicians 
who might not have been repelled by new doctrines of musical 
form found Liszt s style even more demi-mondaine than that of 
the early works of Wagner; nor did Liszt show any tendency to 
purify it. Moreover, he rivalled Meyerbeer in the efficiency of 
his press bureau, by which he made propaganda, often in his own 
fluent French, more generously for others than for himself. 

Meanwhile another musical development was arising* conscious 
of its continuity with the past and, like Judaism as defined by 

MUSIC 13! 

Matthew Arnold, tinged with emotion in the morality of its 
aesthetic principles. Joachim, as great an interpreter on the 
violin as Liszt on the pianoforte, at first found in Liszt a con 
genial friend, until he saw his compositions. These horrified 
him, and the horror completed an estrangement already begun 
by his dislike of the atmosphere of Liszt s press bureau. He and 
his younger friend Brahms were united not only in general musi~ 
cal taste but in personal devotion to the heroic widow of Schu 
mann, who, after her husband s tragic and lingering death, was 
bringing up a large family on the proceeds of her concerts. These 
three artists soon came to regard the musical atmosphere of 
Weimar, where the Lisztianer gathered around their master, as 
unhealthy. In the correspondence and mutual criticism of 
Brahms and Joachim the word Lisztisch became synonymous 
with devilish ; and indeed it is true that any characteristic 
Lisztian and many Wagnerian idioms would have a disgusting 
effect if intruded into Brahms s music. To-day we can be wise 
after the event and find matter for regret in the drastic out 
spokenness of Joachim and Brahms, which elevated matters of 
taste into questions of artistic honour. If Liszt could have been 
contented with sachlich criticism on definable issues of technique 
without requiring attestations of sympathy and enjoyment, and 
if Joachim could have resolved matters of taste into questions of 
artistic proportion, the neo-classical and neo-romantic musicians 
would have joined forces instead of condemning each other. 
Similar economies might be effected in nature if lions could be 
converted to vegetarianism. 

The controversy was unequal, in two compensating ways. 
Wagner had a tremendous, if acrid, fluency in prose and did not 
care where his vitriol might alight. Moreover, Wagnerian and 
Lisztian music was much easier to write about, whether in attack 
or defence, than music which had no literary aspect. Brahms, 
like Wagner, needed and found friends who adored his music, 
but he hated the idea of a press bureau and snubbed anybody 
whose compliments aroused the least suspicion of flattery. These 
drawbacks had their own compensation. It might be difficult to 
write as interestingly about Brahms as about Wagner; but Wag 
ner, whether in exile or enthroned at Bayreuth, had Wagnerian 
music-drama as his whole province, while Brahms reigned over 
the whole of the rest of music, instrumental, choral, and lyric. If 
criticism came to persecution, on the whole the neo-classics had 
the worst of it; for Brahms had no equals since Joachim gave up 
composition, and the position of a champion of classical forms 
was easily confused with that of a persecutor of the prophets of 
progress. As a matter of fact, Brahms was no anti- Wagnerian and 
was annoyed when his friends bracketed Wagner with Liszt. 

132 MUSIC 

But, apart from the clash of flying inkpots, the recognition of 
Brahms was assured by two facts : first, the propaganda of his 
work not by words but by consummate and authoritative perfor 
mance, and second, the very fact that his music required an 
experienced love of music for its understanding. A man might 
become an enthusiastic Wagnerian or even a well-equipped con 
ductor of Wagner s music and be as the brutes that perish about 
symphonic orchestration, choral music, chamber music, songs, 
and all pianoforte music except Chopin. But it was long before 
any musician could venture to tackle Brahms s music on any 
basis except that of the most comprehensive musical culture and 
technique. Brahms lived long enough to become worshipped 
unintelligently; and after his death (in 1897) the reaction was 
more evident than the fashionable worship had been. There are 
signs that the reaction is over by now. 

The Wagnerians felt deeply that their propaganda was incom 
plete for lack of a master of purely symphonic music. This they 
found in Bruckner. Brahms was appalled by the clumsiness of 
Bruckner s forms, and the most official Wagnerians admitted the 
frequent lapses of their symphonic master. On the other hand 
Bruckner s Nibelungen-tetralogy openings to his symphonies 
obviously dwarfed the terse themes of Brahms. By the time 
Brahms and Bruckner had come into their own, the public had 
long lost all sense of form in its appetite for bleeding gobbets of 
musical butcher s-meat hacked from the living body of Wagnerian 
music-drama, and served up in concert rooms as Waldweben, 
Karfreitagszauber, and Walkurenritt. After this it was pedantry 
to quarrel with any symphonic composer s form so long as his 
openings were vast enough. Brahms was no pedant; obvious 
weakness of form and style did not deter him from being the first 
to recognize Dvorak ; and he was drastic in his rebuff of anybody 
who thought to flatter him by talking against Wagner. 

The song-writer Hugo Wolf (1860-1903) became recognized 
too late to be made use of as a lyric-pawn in the Wagner-Bruckner 
party politics of music. As far as his theory of song can be 
summarized, it consists in the application of Wagnerian declama 
tion to lyric poetry. _ If his practice were not better than this 
essentially prose theory of verse-rhythm (see RHYTHM) and the 
perky censorship of classical musical declamation that goes with 
it, Hugo Wolf s art would not have survived his short and ailing 
life. But it is deeper than the theories on which it is supposed 
to rest and its apparent revolt from lyric melody only partly 
conceals a powerfully organized lyric form, and does not at all 
conceal a great gift of characterization. 


While these great issues were being debated in Germany, the 
music of other countries was awakening from long sleep or out 
growing infancy and provinciality. France had, since Rameau, 
been remarkably content to have its music dominated by 
foreigners. Before Rameau, French opera was established by 
the Italian Lully. After Rameau it was reformed by the Austrian 
Gluck. Early nineteenth-century French classicism was domi 
nated by the Italian Cherubini. Another Italian, Rossini, was in 
the prime of his life absorbed by Paris; and the result was 
Guillaume Tell, with its rich orchestration and grandiose forms. 
But the crown of French opera was imposed on it by the German 
Jew Meyerbeer. The pretensions of the native French composers 
were more modest, except for the volcanic eruptions of that 
typical meridional Berlioz. The popularity of Gounod (1818-93) 
rested on the same misunderstanding of the meaning of art as 
the vogue of Dore in the capacity of an illustrator of the Bible. 
Faust was a success. Another development, more improvisatorial, 
uncertain of its style, but fundamentally sincere, was initiated by 
the Belgian, Cesar Franck (1822-92). From him, and not from 
the more prolific and facile Saint- Saens, originates the main 
stream of modern French music. His style has too much affinity 
with Liszt to please the musicians who continue to regard Liszt 
as the author of all modern musical evil ; but he achieved mastery 
in a wide range of forms all his own and he never wrote for effect. 

In Italy music since Rossini was long contented to imitate the 
things in which Rossini was imitable. These were the mechanical 
cultivation of bel canto and the use of a full orchestra to support 
the voice in a thick unison of the melodic instruments, with a 
brassy dance-rhythm in the rest, and the big drum and cymbals 
to mark the rhythm. The genuine melodic inventiveness of Bel 
lini and Donizetti did little to improve the other categories of 
the art; but in Verdi (1813-1901) a new genius was arising 
together with the Risorgimento. In Rigoletto, II Trovatore, and 
La Tramata Verdi s dramatic sincerity triumphs over the defects 
of a musical texture which still clings to traditional squalor, 
though strokes of genius occur unpredictably in the orchestration 
of many passages. In A ida the style silences all cavil; and in 
Otello (written at the age of 74) and Falstaff (written at the age 
of 80) Verdi creates a new kind of opera, Wagnerian in its perfect 
continuity and dramatic movement, but utterly independent of 
Wagner s style and method. 

Bold prophets in Beethoven s time had been heard to say that 
a great musical future was in store for Russia. The fulfilment of 
this prophecy was long delayed, for when Rubinstein averred that 

134 MUSIC 

Michael Glinka (1803-57) was the equal or the superior of 
Haydn and Mozart, he expressed an opinion which could have 
occurred only to a Russian, and then only as a patriotic paradox. 
Rubinstein himself achieved only a weak cosmopolitanism in his 
voluminous compositions, though his pianoforte playing re 
mained, for all its waywardness, till near the end of the century, 
as the most monumental power of interpretation on that instru 
ment since Liszt. The first composer to make a genuinely Rus 
sian music recognized over the whole civilized world was Tchai 
kovsky (1840-93), whose symphonies were held by some critics 
to have eclipsed those of Brahms. This was the eclipse of drama 
by melodrama. The true merits of Tchaikovsky are now eclipsed 
by the rising reputation of his less immediately successful con 
temporaries. Mussorgsky (1835-81) had the posthumous for 
tune to have his two great operas, Boris Godunov and Khovan- 
tchina, revised by Rimsky-Korsakov (1844-1908), the most 
brilliant contemporary master of pure orchestral colour and 
texture. This was unquestionably good fortune in so far as it 
speeded these unconventional works on their way into the wide 
world; but something like indignation has accompanied the more 
recent study of Mussorgsky s original scores, with the discovery 
that besides altering clumsinesses Rimsky-Korsakov constantly 
meddled with features in his friend s style that were far beyond 
his comprehension. 

The nineteenth century was over before any musician on the 
Continent could be persuaded that there were composers in 
England. Schumann had repeated St. Gregory s pun about 
Angles and angels when he hailed Sterndale Bennett as ein 
englischer Componist ; but the trials of English musical life dried 
Bennett up. All who knew and loved him denied hotly that his 
music reflected Mendelssohn s; and perhaps, to-day, a leisurely 
study of it might vindicate his independence. Macfarren (1813- 
87), who succeeded Bennett in his educational offices, was a 
widely cultured musician whose influence for good was frus 
trated by his violent conservatism, which co-existed with a fatal 
readiness to be led by faddists. (See HARMONY.) The renascence 
of English music began in the work of Parry (1848-1918) and 
Stanford (1852-1924). They put an end to the provincial absurdi 
ties of our British oratorio tradition, and consistently set great 
literature in a way that revealed to contemporary poets that the 
antithesis between musical and general culture was false. They 
also had wide and deep influence as teachers of composition. 

Still, recognition of English music on the Continent was rare 
and capricious. Englishmen wrote Church music for the stage, 
stage music for the Church, organ music for the orchestra, and, 
as far as we had any orchestral ideas at all, orchestral music for 

MUSIC 135 

the organ. The one famous English composer who could be 
understood on the Continent, as saying intelligible things in fit 
terms, was Sullivan, with his Savoy operas. And his serious col 
leagues and critics urged him with owlish solemnity to produce 
no more light masterpieces but to go on with his serious and 
luscious Golden Legends and Martyrs of Antioch and generally 
to consummate the -final merging of English music into The 
Lost Chord . We may thankfully hope that that chord is now 
lost for ever; but the Savoy operas live, and might, without delay 
to their popularity, have risen to the position of great music if 
Sullivan had had enough steadfast love of music to finish those 
parts of his work to which the public did not listen ; if for ex 
ample, he had provided his operas with better orchestral intro 
ductions than the perfunctory pot-pourris of their favourite tunes 
which he calls overtures and which are quite as long as artistically 
decent overtures would have been. 

It is customary to explain the failure of all but the most recent 
British music by saying that the native art was crushed by the 
ponderous genius of Handel. It is a great pity that the united 
ponderosity of Handel and the middle-weight Mendelssohn could 
not avail to dam the output of oratorios by composers who might 
have become good song- writers or even acquired some knowledge 
of orchestration beyond that of choral accompaniment. The 
complaint of foreign domination is nonsense. No country has 
had its music so long and so completely dominated by foreigners 
as France; and French music has always remained exclusively 
French and has made thoroughly French artists of the foreigners 
who dominated it. The traces of foreign influence on English 
music have always been the echoes of individual phrases or man 
nerisms. While we have echoed, as the fashions change, Men 
delssohn, Brahms, and Debussy, we have learnt no technical 
lessons from them. Such mechanical echoes show no foreign 
domination, but are the best proof of an inveterate provincialism 
and the kind of ignorant and irritable independence that goes 
with it. Since music ceased to be an integral part of an English 
man s culture (about the time of William and Mary), our musi 
cians, as a rule, began its serious study far too late. The language 
of music cannot be begun at the age of nineteen like courses in 
law or medicine. Our universities have played a considerable 
part in shaping British musical destinies ; but a mighty Oxford 
treads on the tongue of the encyclopaedist who would pursue 
this topic. 


The twentieth century inherited the last development of the 
nineteenth in the symphonic poems and operas of Richard Strauss. 

136 MUSIC 

Much acrid controversy at first raged around the details of his 
style, which dashed through all the traffic regulations of classical 
part- writing. And nothing was easier than to identify all carping 
critics with Beckmesser and to accept humbly Strauss s own 
self-portrait as the hero of Bin Heldenleben. The elements that 
were sensational in Strauss s symphonic poems have become so 
familiar that we are in some danger of underestimating the impor 
tance of these works as real achievements of the problem in which 
Liszt failed; not the trivial problem of programme music, but 
the vital problem of writing purely instrumental music on the 
Wagnerian time-scale. The power of composition in these works 
is unquestionable and remains eminent in their facile aftermath, 
the Alpen-Sinfonte, which, designed before the War of 1914, 
appeared in 1915. But Strauss had eclipsed the fame of his 
symphonic works by his operas, which began to be important 
with Salome (1905), a setting of Oscar Wilde s play. Then came 
the long and fruitful partnership with Hugo von Hofmannsthal 
which enabled poet and musician to prove the possibility of many 
different kinds of modern opera, Wagnerian and non- Wagnerian. 
The purity of the Straussian metal has been strongly alloyed with 
worldly wisdom in every phase of Strauss s career: in the period 
of the good boy of the conservatoire ; in the romantic symphonic 
poet of Tod und Verkldrung ; in the timely musical adaptation of 
Wilde while he was still a new discovery on the German stage ; 
in the seizing of the opportunity presented by Hofmannsthal s 
Elektra after its triumph as a play ; and not least in the later phase 
of naive melodiousness. Nevertheless Die Frau ohm Schatten is 
perhaps the most noble gesture in music since 1918. From the 
twilight of fin-de-decle and recent erotic art and from its always 
selfish and sometimes abnormal sexual preoccupations, Die Frau 
ohne Schatten breaks away with a heroic plea for normal love 
and life. Unassailable by any cavil that does not write itself down 
as ignoble, musically, this is Strauss s grandest and most grandly 
realized opportunity for beauty. As a theatrical spectacle it is a 
gorgeous pantomine, no more disturbed by its allegorical mean 
ing than Die Zauberflote, which it in some ways intentionally 
resembles. Die Aegyptische Helene (1928) descends from this 
high level into all manner of cleverness in its stage-technique and 
of facility in its music. 

Whatever has been gained in the twentieth-century music, 
Strauss presents an almost solitary example of mastery of move 
ment. Elsewhere, neither in academic teaching nor in new musi 
cal developments does any sense of movement seem to be culti 
vated. The vast cosmic movement of Wagner is attempted, in 
Bruckner s fashion, by composers who seem to think that huge 
dimensions can impress us as huge without any reference to 

MUSIC 137 

human measurements. The best work of Sibelius shows a true 
sense of cosmic movement and a real freedom and economy in 
the forms by which this is expressed. With other modern com 
posers the most curious musical inhibition is that which makes 
them continue to write sonata works in the four classical move 
ments with a rigidity unknown to Mozart, Haydn, and Beethoven, 
though the modern matter has no more connexion with sonata 
form than Wagnerian music-drama has with the da capo aria. 

This lack of necessity in form is nowhere more conspicuous 
than in the whole work of Max Reger, who is usually regarded 
as the Brahms of the twentieth century. His untimely death 
happened when he was evidently about to change his style. He 
was a pupil of the most mechanically systematized musical scholar 
of recent times, Hugo Riemann ; and any one who has groaned in 
spirit at the sight of one of Riemann s instructive editions of a 
piece of classical music may easily recognize in Reger the traces 
of Riemann s teaching. Every external feature of the classical 
art-forms is present without any trace of the classical reasons for 
it. Everything has been worked out from one detail to the next 
as if it had been plotted on squared paper ready marked by some 
one else with points of reference. 

Whatever is to be learnt from Reger, it is not the meaning of 
classical art-forms. And much is to be learnt from Reger. His 
texture is inevitably thick, for its systematic completeness vetoes 
the suggestiveness of the highest art. But it is astonishingly 
sonorous, and its numerous notes are the fewest and most effec 
tive for its ponderous purpose. Every instrument is treated 
according to its natural technique; and while the player who 
claims that he can read Reger at sight is probably mendacious, 
he will enjoy his instrument the better for playing Reger well. 
The fundamental reality of Reger is that he is not only a sincere 
artist but a consummate rhetorician. But this age must be very 
ill-informed about the foundations of music if it elects Reger as 
its Brahms. 

There is at present no Brahms; the twentieth century must 
enlarge its musical experience before another renascence of classi 
cal form can either be expected or recognized when it comes. It 
might be as likely to come from Russia as anywhere ; the gigantic 
geniality of Glazunov has remained with us, active in the compo 
sition of brilliant classical and symphonic polyphony, and gener 
ously stimulating to younger composers ; and the efforts of young 
artists to find out things for themselves may lead to something 
more fundamental than revolt against academicism or than the 
still narrower academicisms that young revolutionaries are apt to 
set up among themselves. 

Scriabin s later harmonic system has been touched upon in the 

138 MUSIC 

article HARMONY, section x. At this point we may sum up the 
lessons of three harmonic revolutions distributed over five cen 
turies of musical history in the generalization that whenever a 
composer becomes permanently preoccupied with harmonic 
ideas, his power of composition is in great danger of paratysis. 
The reason for this lies deeper than the nature of music itself. 
Similar tendencies in literature reduce the power of sentence- 
building to that of the first Ollendorfian exercises. Scriabin s 
Chopinesque but stiff style of composition was fortunately well 
mastered by him before he doomed himself to discover that the 
harping on any chord, however strange and novel, in the long run 
only produces the effect of a sophisticated dominant seventh. 
Before his style receded into its theosophical fastnesses Scriabin 
had achieved, in his Fifth Sonata and in his orchestral Po&me 
cTExtase (both inspired by a literary poem from his own pen), works 
of powerful impulse that could not have been written on earlier 
harmonic and rhythmic resources. 

The chances of producing permanently living work are heavily 
weighted against the composer who confines his art to things 
which he alone can understand. The Russian Ballet gives abun 
dant vital occasion for music as long as it deals intelligently with 
drama, fairy-tale, fable, and life ; and the young Stravinsky found 
in it inspiration for music that remains intelligible apart from the 
spectacle. In P&trouchka he produces rhythms and tones that 
enhance the moods of a fascinating pantomime; but the concert- 
goers who profess to enjoy it without ever seeing the ballet show 
themselves to be of the tribe who will gaze as ducks that die in 
tempests at anything they are told to admire. 

Self-deception and dry-rot set in when the designers as well 
as the composers of the ballet retire into the arbitrary kingdom 
of abstractions which they call symbolic and which common 
sense calls nonsense. Opinions will never unite about where the 
line should be drawn ; but the twentieth century will differ from 
all other periods of human history if a large percentage of its 
most precious nonsense does not vanish into the limbo of mere 
nonsense before its generation becomes middle-aged. 

The art of Debussy made its mark without any such artifices. 
Some aspects of it are discussed in HARMONY, section x; but 
Debussy would have indignantly repudiated the resolving of his 
whole-tone scale as a six-part polyphonic chord, though he him 
self cannot resist the impulse to resolve it on to a pentatonic 
scale, which is itself constructible as a chord. Debussy s propa 
gandists believed him to be more closely confined to his special 
system than was the case. Eclecticism was always breaking in 
without any damage to the aesthetic coherence of the style. It is 
probable that Debussy s art, discreetly anthologized, will remain 

MUSIC 139 

vital when the work of the more voluminous and hard-headed 
Ravel will have become no more distinguishable from an echo 
than Sterndale Bennett is from the echo of Mendelssohn. In 
dependent origin does not settle such questions. Cyril Scott has 
been called the English Debussy, but he began to form his style 
before Debussy was known. 

One of the eternal questions in aesthetics is the proportion 
of means to ends. The War of 1914 tragically dictated to all 
artists a preference of the study of reduced rather than of in 
creased resources ; yet performances on the scale of the Handel 
Festivals in the Crystal Palace continue at London, though the 
music for organizations of even half that size has never yet 
been composed. Here, then, is material for a real and strenuous 
aesthetic discipline ; and the zeal of Mengelberg has created in 
Holland a great vogue for the vast works in which Mahler, while 
writing for existing conditions, set himself the task of pioneer- 
work in the aesthetic and technical principles of music designed 
for one thousand performers and upwards. Taste is of secondary 
importance in such an enterprise, and Mahler is likely to be 
underrated in countries where naive sentimentality and boyish 
grandiosity encounter the inhibitions of a musical culture that 
thinks itself wiser. Mahler was one of the greatest orchestral and 
opera conductors that ever lived. On the total value of his com 
positions tastes may agree to differ, but this century has seen 
no more strenuous idealist. The main stream of music still flows 
within the Wagner-Strauss limits and seldom requires one hun 
dred and fifty instrumental players. Arnold Schonberg s Gurre- 
lieder (a large song-cycle for chorus and soli, the great success of 
which is held to be a hindrance to the spread of his later and more 
revolutionary gospel) requires an extraordinary orchestra; but 
the polyphony that requires fifty staves for its notation implies 
detail rather than mass. 

The performance of Elgar s Dream of Gerontius at Diisseldorf 
in 1902, its enthusiastic reception there, and finally the generous 
speech of Richard Strauss then delivered in its honour, inaugu 
rated the recognition of modern English music on the Continent, 
and gave English critics and audiences a not unneeded lesson 
after their lukewarm reception of it at its inadequate first perfor 
mance at Birmingham. Elgar s rich and subtle orchestration is 
not more remarkable than the wealth of his invention of themes. 
His contemporary, Bantock, is a prolific composer in a style far 
easier but not less personal and sincere, in which the influence of 
Strauss and the schematic purity of Rimsky-Korsakov s orches 
tration may be traced by their technical results but not by man 

In Italy the masterful personality of Boi to (1842-1918) de- 

140 MUSIC 

veloped in the nineteenth century, but his musical ideas antici 
pate the twentieth. He wrote brilliant libretti to Verdi s last 
works and these of younger composers, and achieved extraordi 
nary musical fame by two operas, Mefistofele and the posthumous 
Ncrone, These have taken their place among the historic docu 
ments of musical Italy on the strength of less actual musical 
content than any other operas in existence. Their aristocratic 
refinement and flair for atmosphere is unquestionable. Very 
different is the full-blooded efficiency of Puccini (1858-1924), in 
whose hands Italian opera advanced in the estimation of a public 
that was in all countries becoming too experienced in music to 
be satisfied with perfunctory orchestration and histrionic conven 
tion. The razor-edge intellect of the great pianoforte artist 
Busoni (1866-1924) achieved important results in compositions 
for the pianoforte, the orchestra, and the stage, in spite of the 
energy he spent in demonstrating how much more cleverly the 
classics would have been written if they had possessed his 
advantages. If Casals could have his way, the musical awakening 
of Spain would be a leading feature in the history of the modern 

In England there are encouraging signs that musicians are 
beginning to think for themselves without confusion between 
independence of academic tradition and independence of truth. 
Gustav Hoist s interest in oriental subjects was (like Bantock s) 
no whim for chmoiserics but a true expression of the nostalgia of 
the West for the East. His Hymn of Jesus is worthy of its awe- 
inspiring Byzantine eucharistic text. Vaughan Williams, with less 
of Hoist s wide and clear-sighted exploration of pre-harmonic 
regions, composes with consistent nobility on a large scale and 
in a style that it would be an impertinence to try to trace to its 
various historic origins. 

Thus the work of doctrinaires is not all that is happening in 
modern music; and, in any case, music is in the happy position of 
existing, like architecture, on practical terms which forbid mere 
lunacy to flourish unchecked. A large proportion of modern 
musical developments have been tested by enthusiastic and 
capable public performers almost before the ink of the manu 
script was dry. Immediately before the last war, Rutland 
Boughton s small-scale Glastonbury festivals of music- drama 
were a stimulus of incalculable importance in the history of 
modern British opera ; and on the Continent the younger compo 
sers of chamber music have had the help of knight-errants in 
the masterly Amar Quartet which, with Paul Hindemith as viola 
and his brother as violoncello, spared no pains to secure for the 
most difficult experiments (such as the quarter-tone works of 
Haba) a perfect performance. Hindemith himself is one of the 

MUSIC 14! 

boldest and most masterly experimenters, if indeed, he is not the 
master of them all. It is very significant that his vocal writing, 
which seems to contradict all previous orthodoxies, stays uncom 
monly firmly in the vocal memory once it is mastered; whereas 
many otiose modulations in the Lisztian music of the seventies, 
such as the part-songs of Cornelius, sink in pitch however much 
choirs may practice them. The young masters who sternly re 
nounce romance make a romantic gesture in the very act. 

Much has been said as to the fructifying or deleterious influ 
ence of jazz. The highest class of jazz-band is undoubtedly 
composed of sensitive artists ; but the conductor of a symphony 
orchestra in a musically not metropolitan town will, if he engages 
for a symphony concert the gentleman who handles the percus 
sion apparatus of the best local jazz-band, discover that that 
artist s methods are entirely extemporaneous, and that, except 
with a drumstick, he has never clashed the cymbals otherwise 
than flat on to the top of the big drum, and never counted rests 
in his life. Ordinary jazz-music distributes its rhythmic surprises 
over the most imperturbable eight-bar ambling trot that ever 
lulled the rhythmic sense to sleep. Most drugs that begin with 
a stimulating action end as narcotics. 


The explorers of new musical intervals are hampered by having 
to deal with classical keyboards and other practical limitations. 
Perhaps they would do well to investigate Miss Schlesinger s 
pianoforte-tuning, already mentioned in connexion with Greek 
music ; for, whether it be Greek or not, it is scientific and there 
fore more natural than most of the experiments that composers 
have yet tried in the way of quarter-tones. But new instruments 
cannot be so readily produced as in the eighteenth century. 
Harpsichords and early pianofortes were made; but pianofortes 
are now manufactured. Emmanuel Moor s duplex-coupler piano 
forte has enormously extended the resources of the instrument 
without compelling the player to unlearn the classical technique. 
But its progress is impeded by the commercial difficulty of pro 
moting an improvement that cannot be added as an extra appara 
tus to existing and standardized pianofortes, and its reputation 
is damaged by the tendency to expound it as a device that makes 
existing feats of technique nugatory, a policy that infuriates the 
pianoforte virtuoso and ignores the great new possibilities of the 

Resonators have been invented for many instruments. The 
claim that by such devices one violin can sound like sixteen 
ignores the real effect of the multiplication of instruments, which 

142 MUSIC 

consists far more essentially of a change in quality of tone than 
of a mere increase of volume. No resonators, phonograph disks, 
or loud-speakers for wireless transmitters will ever replace the 
quality of sounds that combine in the ear from the various direc 
tions of their dispersed orchestral sources. The listener need 
only put his hands around his ears while listening to an orchestra 
in a concert r room, and he will realize that a gramophone effect 
is little more than the result of cutting off the waves that reach 
the ear from other than the frontal direction. 

The main importance of wireless lies in the fact that it 
appeals viva voce to millions without producing the phenomena 
of crowd-psychology. Here and there it leads to a revived inter 
est in intimate early pianoforte music that would never satisfy 
modern ears in the concert-room, and a new fact in musical 
aesthetics is the beauty of microphonically-magnified tones of 
very faint instruments such as the clavichord. Wireless has un 
doubtedly increased the number of fireside music-lovers; but it 
needs careful administration to prevent it from a tendency to 
cut off orchestral music at the source, for many of the new music- 
lovers prefer tinned music at the fireside to live music in the 
concert-room. It is urgently necessary that the wealthy suppor 
ters of music should be made to see the folly of the notion that 
good music should be expected to pay its way commercially. 

Wireless music may prove less subversive than another revolu 
tion by means of the microscopic study of phonographic records. 
There is nothing to prevent the eventual production of music 
directly in terms of the track of the phonograph-needle. That is 
to say, the composer, untrammelled by the technique of instru 
ments, will prescribe all producible timbres in whatever pitches 
and rhythms he pleases, and will have no more direct coopera 
tion with the craftsman who models the phonographic wave-lines 
than the violinist has with Stradivarius. The crudest beginnings 
of this new method of composition will be enormously impor 
tant; but its highest development will still leave the handling of 
human voices and instruments supreme as the infinite source of 
inspired music. 


OPERA, a drama set to music, as distinguished from plays in 
which music is merely incidental. 

Italian Beginnings. The historian, Doni, tells us that in the 
last years of the sixteenth century a group of amateurs held 
meetings at the house of the Bardi in Florence with the object 
of trying experiments in musical declamation by solo voices 
supported by instruments. Hitherto the only high musical art 
was unaccompanied choral music ; though its expression was 
perfect within its own limits, those limits were such that within 
them, dramatic music was as inconceivable as dramatic archi 
tecture. But the literary dilettanti who met at the house of the 
Bardi were not mature musical artists, and no technical scruples 
interfered with their glorious project of restoring the musical 
glories of the Greek tragedy. Vincenzo Galilei, the father of 
Galileo, warbled the story of Ugolino to the accompaniment of 
the lute, much to the amusement of expert musicians; but he 
gained the respectful sympathy of literary listeners. 

The first public production in this monodic style was Jacopo 
Peri s Euridice (1600), which was followed by a less successful 
effort of Caccini s on the same subject. Feeble as were these 
efforts, they impressed contemporary imagination as infinitely 
more suggestive of life and passion than the forlorn attempts then 
in vogue to provide good music for a music-drama by means of 
a polyphonic chorus behind the scene, with actors in dumb-show 
on the stage. As Parry happily points out in this connexion, the 
laying of a foundation stone suggests a future so inspiriting as 
to exclude all sense of the triviality of the present achievement. 
A great master of pure polyphony, Orazio Vecchi, had already, in 
1594, the year of Palestrina s death, laughed the madrigal-opera 
to extinction in his Amfiparnasso. The woodcuts which adorn 
its first edition show how the actors sang or mimed in front, 
while the other singers completed the harmony behind the 

With the decadence of the madrigal, Monteverdi brought a 
real musical power to bear on the new style. At the beginning 
of the seventeenth century no impressionable young musician 
could fail to be profoundly stirred by Monteverdi s Orfeo (1602), 
Arianna (1608), and // Combattimento di Tancredi e Glorinda 
(1624), works in which instruments were used with the same 
archaic boldness, the same rhetorical force, and the same lack of 
artistic organization as vocal style and harmonic resources. So 
explosive was the spark of Monteverdi s genius that the next 

144 OPERA 

step necessary for the progress of opera was a development of 
forms, not only non-dramatic but anti-dramatic. 

The types of monody conceivable by the pioneers of opera 
were codified in the system of free musical declamation known 
as recitative. This is said to have been used by Emilio del Cava- 
lieri as early as 1588. Formal melody, such as that of popular 
songs, was as much beneath the dignity of monody as it had been 
beneath that of the highest forms of polyphony; but in the 
absence of any harmonic system but that of the Church modes, 
which was ruined by the new unprepared discords, formal melody 
proved a godsend as the novelty of recitative faded. Tunes were 
soon legalized at moments of dramatic repose ; it was in the tunes 
that the strong harmonic system of Neapolitan tonality took 
shape ; and by the early days of Alessandro Scarlatti, before the 
end of the seventeenth century, the art of tune-making had blos 
somed into the musically safe and effective form of the aria (q. v.). 

The poet Metastasio realized that there was nothing unnatural 
in a scheme of drama which allowed each stage of the action to 
culminate in a tableau marked by a burst of lyric poetry and 
lyric music. Some thirty such tableaux would give occasion for 
thirty arias (including a few duets, rarely a trio, and only once in 
Handel s forty-two operas a quartet) while the connecting action 
and dialogue were set in recitative. Metastasio devoted his whole 
life to opera-libretti on this plan, which he executed with con 
summate skill. He was far from satisfied with the way in which 
most composers set his texts. The scheme was fatally easy for 
small musicians and did not stimulate the higher faculties of 
great ones; while great and small were equally at the mercy of 

Before this stagnation of baroque opera there was a provincial 
outburst of life in the wonderful patchwork of PurcelFs art (1658- 
95). In the early Dido and Aeneas he and the humble Nahum 
Tate (of Tate and Brady) produced, perhaps, the most perfect 
opera before Gluck. Dry den was less accommodating. He had 
been so disgusted by the stupid vanity of the fashionable Mon 
sieur Grabu, that when he wrote King Arthur he insisted on 
arranging that the musical characters should be quite independent 
of the main action ; and with the infliction of this condition upon 
Purcell, English opera was relegated to a permanent musical 
squalor which even endured long enough to ruin Weber s last 
work, Oberon, in 1826. 

Gluck. Another sign of life was present in the farcical operas 
and intermezzi or comic entr actes of certain Neapolitan com 
posers (for example, Leo, Pergolesi, and Logroscino), one of 
which (Pergolesi s La Serva Padrona) occasioned the war of 
BufTonistes and Antibuffonistes in Paris (see MUSIC, sec. vi). 

OPERA 145 

The forms of music known before 1750 were architectural or 
decorative, but essentially non-dramatic. Baroque opera required 
something more than reform, and the opportunity for progress 
came with the rise of the sonata style. The music of Gluck s 
time was too firmly organized to be upset by new discoveries ; in 
fact the chief need for opera was retrenchment in rhetorical 
forms. Gluck, as Handel had remarked of his early works, was 
no contrapuntist, and to the end of his life this hampered him in 
* jining his flats . But he had a genius for phrasing (see RHYTHM) 
which went far to promote dramatic movement, and another 
aspect of this was a sense of symphonic form as vigorous as could 
find scope in opera at all ; while his melodic power was of the 
kind which Matthew Arnold calls * touchstones of poetry . 

The lasting effect of his work on French music left the course 
of Italian opera seria unchecked. Mozart s Idomeneo is the grave 
of some of his greatest music, including many genuinely dramatic 
strokes, and his perfunctory Clemenza di Tito is the last opera 
seria that contains any music worth extracting. The unmistakable 
influence of Gluck could not save Idomeneo*, and Mozart s tri 
umphs belong to the comedy of manners, until he entered the 
transcendental world of Die Zauberflote. His first impulse was 
inveterately musical, and his power of dramatic movement and 
characterization grew steadily without always preventing him 
from yielding to singers and indulging himself in dramatically 
vicious musical luxuries. But after his first exuberant German 
opera, Die Entfiihrung aus dem Serail, it is not so easy as it 
seems to catch Mozart napping. He is a dangerously subtle 
parodist, and in Cost fan tutte the heroic coloratura arias of the 
virtuous Fiordiligi and Dorabella are the arias of ladies who do 
protest too much; and in Die Zauberflote the vocal fireworks of 
the Queen of Night are the rhetoric of a formidable person, who, 
we are told, hopes to cajole the people with illusions . 

Mozart. Mozart s operas are organized so thoroughly on the 
basis of their libretti that it is a serious mistake, not made by 
scholars like Jahn, to underrate the wits of his literary collabora 
tor, Da Ponte. Goethe did not even underrate the rapscallion 
Schikaneder, but took the symbolical aspects of Die Zauberflote 
so seriously as to sketch a sequel to it. Since boyhood Mozart 
never wrote an opera without thoroughly controlling its dramatic 
movement. Where he relaxes the relaxation is complete. The 
movement in Die Entfiihrung is intermittent and the static ele 
ments excessively favoured, but the movement exists and is 
powerful. In Figaro, the fourth act, with its tangle of assigna 
tions in the garden, has five arias in succession, which would 
make a mere concert on the stage if they were all performed ; but 
there is an ironic dramatic tension behind the last of them (Deh 

146 OPERA 

vieninon tardar) ; and when the librettist provides action Wagner 
is not as quick as Mozart in his timing of the details and the whole. 
One of Wagner s English propagandists, Hueffer, cited the duet 
in which Cherubino and Susanna are trying to find a way out of 
the locked room before the Count returns, and accused Mozart 
of keeping the Count waiting at the door until this effective piece 
of music had run its formal course. But every stage manager 
finds that Mozart has barely given Cherubino time for a natural 
hesitation before jumping out of the window, in spite of Susanna s 
terrified protest. 

The Qualities of Opera. And here we may profitably con 
sider what are the qualities necessary for success in opera. It is 
notorious that the absolute value of the music comes last, if it 
is a factor of success at all. Unquestionably it is a factor in 
immortality ; and the music of Idomeneo is immortal, though that 
opera is revived only in Mozart festivals. But operas cannot wait 
for immortality, and can manage on quite flimsy music to achieve 
as much immortality as musical history has given time for. It 
might be thought that success depends on dramatic power ; and 
this is nearer the truth. But dramatic power comes only third in 
the conditions, and coherence is not necessary at all. 

Two qualities take precedence of dramatic power as conditions 
for success in opera; one is the theatrical sense, and the other the 
histrionic sense. They are inseparable but not identical. The 
theatrical sense can thrill the listener before the curtain rises, 
as in the modulation to F major at the end of the overture to 
Don Giovanni] the histrionic sense can save the stage manager 
the trouble of telling the actors what to do with their hands. The 
beginning of Rossini s Earlier e is an excellent example, especially 
when compared with that of Paisiello s setting, which dominated 
the stage until Rossini s ousted it. Paisiello s opening is good 
music for any moderately cheerful situation, Rossini s opening 
consists of a scale rising for nine notes and descending again, 
with long halts and water-beetle glides. Actors may be defied to 
walk on during this music with any steps but those of conspira 
tors ! And the scoring (which is so perfunctory that literally half 
of the bulk of the opera is expressed by abbreviations) gives in 
perfection the theatrical atmosphere of a night scene. The same 
ridiculous scale in another ridiculous rhythm hisses up and down 
in thirds sul ponticello (close to the violin bridge) while Basilio 
describes the destructive effects of a well-managed calumny. 
Poor Paisiello s famous duet between two stammerers was no 
asset wherewith to outbid Rossini s ubiquitous histrionic sense 
in the contest for popularity. 

But when brilliant writers tell us that Rossini is superior to 
Mozart in the sense of pace, it is high time to study the elements 

OPERA 147 

of Mozart s art. Three senses of pace enter into music. There is 
that of the athlete, relying on his own limbs, the limbs of his 
horse, or the wheels which he directly controls. There is that of 
the passenger reclining in his car. And there is the cosmic motion 
of the stars among which our own humble earth moves hundreds 
of times faster than a cannon ball, yet takes several minutes to 
traverse its own diameter. Of these three senses of movement 
that of the passenger in his car is equivalent to repose, and to 
nothing else; while cosmic movements, discernible in Bach, 
Beethoven, and Wagner, must be related to human measure 
ments before they mean anything at all. The one directly ex 
hilarating sense of movement is that of the athlete ; and we are 
asked to believe that Rossini exemplifies this when Figaro rattles 
his * Largo al factotum at some nine syllables a second, immov 
able for six minutes except for semaphore gestures once in twelve 
bars, to the right when the music halts on the dominant, to the 
left when it halts on the tonic. No, let us be accurate ; there is 
another tradition which identifies the tonic with the right and the 
dominant with the left. Mozart s Figaro contains one piece of 
patter-singing even faster than * Largo al factotum , but he pro 
nounces judgement on this kind of movement by giving it to the 
decrepit Dr. Bartolo ( se tutto il codice dovesse leggere , &c.). 

The decline of opera seria and opera buff a led to an approxima 
tion between tragic and comic styles till the distinction became 
too subtle to be distinguished by any but experts. Dance rhythms 
became the only Italian forms of accompaniment, and vocal scale 
exercises remained the last resource of the dying Desdemona. 
Yet Rossini retained so much histrionic force that an English 
spectator of his Otello is recorded to have started out of his seat 
at the catastrophe, exclaiming * Good Heavens ! the tenor is mur 
dering the soprano 1 And in times of political unrest more than 
one opera became as dangerous as censorship could make it. An 
historical case is brilliantly described in George Meredith s Vit- 
toria. But what has this to do with the progress of music? The 
history of Italian opera from after its culmination in Mozart to 
its subsidence on the big drum and cymbals of the Rossinians is 
the history of star* singers. 

Verdi s art, both in its burly youth and in its shrewd old age, 
changed all that. He reformed nothing except by slow experi 
ence; but he gradually found a meaning for everything Even 
the vile Italian brass is used in his last works in just the same 
style as in his earliest, with the enormous difference that he 
appreciates its brutality and uses it only where brutality is 
wanted. Verdi s development belongs to a later stage of operatic 

France. After Mozart the next forward step in operatic art 

148 OPERA 

was again made in France. The French histrionic atmosphere 
had a stimulating effect upon every foreign composer who visited 
Paris. Rossini himself, in Guillaume Tell, was electrified into a 
higher dramatic and orchestral life than the rollicking rattle of 
his serious and comic Italian operas. The grave defects of its 
libretto were overcome by unprecedented efforts at the cost of an 
entire act. Anywhere but in Paris Rossini s music would have 
pulled a worse drama through or else failed outright ; but in Paris 
the composer found it worth while to learn how to rescue his best 
music from failure. 

The French contribution to musical history between Gluck and 
Rossini is of austere nobility worthy of a better crown than 
Meyerbeer s music. If Cherubini and Mehul had had Gluck s 
melodic power, the classics of French opera would have been the 
greatest achievements in semi-tragic music- drama before Wag 
ner. As it is, their austerity is negative, failing to achieve beauty 
rather than rejecting what is irrelevant. The histrionic sense is 
good, but the sense of movement rejects patter-singing without 
achieving anything more real. Cherubini s Medee, Les Deux 
Journees, and Faniska, however, did achieve grand musical forms 
and had a great influence on Beethoven. 

Beethoven s Fidelio gives occasion to consider the function of 
the librettist, who obviously has the composer at his mercy unless 
the composer is prompt to get the upper hand. Mozart learnt 
betimes to bully his librettist. Beethoven did not; and the 
expansion of Bouilly s pretty opera comique, Fidelio, ou Yamour 
conjugal into the powerful Leonore (afterwards renamed Fidelio) 
was executed according to Beethoven s general intentions but 
with many blunders in the mise-en-scene. French opera comique 
is not comic opera, but opera with spoken dialogue. It thus 
includes Cherubini s tragic Medee and Mehul s biblical Joseph. 
It has a tendency (which culminates in Bizet s Carmen) to 
arrange that much of the music should happen more or less as it 
might occur in an ordinary play. For instance, necessary ante 
cedents may be told in that dear old song which I am never 
tired of hearing , whereupon the family history follows in a 
ballad. Other occasions for music are the plighting of troth in 
a little private ceremony, the entry of a company of soldiers, and, 
less realistically, ordinary entries and tableau-situations in gen 
eral, until we recapture the Metastasio scheme. Opera, viewed 
from this point, lacks opportunity for great musical forms which 
can deal with more than one action ; but the influence of Mozart s 
wonderful concerted finales was not to be resisted, and Cheru 
bini s librettists arranged that the second act in Les Deuxjourn&s, 
Lodoiska, and one or two other operas, should end with contin 
uous music for something like twenty minutes, with various 

OPERA 149 

changes of action. The last act French taste did not allow to 
expand, and in all French operas the end is perfunctory ; whereas 
Mozart and Beethoven love to expatiate on the final happiness. 

It is not known where the concerted finale originated, since its 
reputed invention by Logroscino is not borne out by his extant 
works; but it is already fully developed in the second act of 
Mozart s La finta Giardiniera (written at the age of 18). In his 
first Singspiely Die Entfuhrung, Mozart ends the second act with 
a highly developed quartet, while the whole opera ends with a 
vaudeville, i.e., a series of verses delivered by each character in 
turn, with a burden in chorus ; followed by a short movement for 
full chorus. But in his other Singspiel, Die Zauberflote, the finales 
to both acts, like those in Figaro, Don Giovanni, and Cod fan 
tutte, cover so much action within their half-hour s extent that 
it would evidently cost Mozart little effort to extend the finale 
backwards over the whole act and so to achieve, without tran 
scending his own musical language, the perfect continuity of 
Verdi s Fabtaff. This would have suited neither his singers nor 
his public ; but we do not know how he might have crushed oppo 
sition if he had lived longer and had seen the possibilities of 
French opera, with its thrilling tales of heroic adventure. 

Fidelio. As fate befell, Beethoven took the problem in hand 
too late. The original libretto of Fidelio was by the author of 
Les Deux Journees, and was on the usual French lines with (as 
Brahms once put it) vaudeville turns for each person in succes 
sion. Two acts were occupied with the love of the jailer s daugh 
ter, Marcelline, for Fidelio, the mysterious new assistant, really 
the disguised wife of the hero, who has been secretly imprisoned 
by the villain, and whom she has been seeking for two years. 
She reluctantly uses Marcelline s delusion in order to further her 
design of penetrating to the lowest dungeons of this jail, where 
a mysterious prisoner is being starved to death. In the original 
libretto a trio begins on the occasion of the father s giving his 
blessing on their engagement. And on the operatic vaudeville 
scale this is well enough timed. But Fidelio-Leonora s heroic 
project and the martyrdom of her Florestan in Pizarro s dungeon 
are themes too sublime for this light style of opera, which was all 
very well for the adventures of the hero of Les Deux Journees, 
carted out of Paris in his humble friend s water-cart. It was the 
sublime themes that attracted Beethoven ; and in Leonore (as his 
opera was first named) his librettist, Sonnleithner, tried to expand 
them without the necessary recasting of the whole action. So 
the trio of plighted troth was begun earlier, so as to take in half 
of the previous conversation, which dealt with the project of 
getting permission for Fidelio to assist in the work of the dun 
geons, and with Fidelia s imperfectly suppressed excitement 

150 OPERA 

thereat. We thus have the music bursting into the conversation 
in an inexplicable way; and two revisions barely saved the first 
two acts even when an experienced dramatist named Treitshcke 
compressed them into the first act of Fidelio. 

The rest, from the rise of the curtain on Florestan in the dun 
geon, was not beyond mending ; and spectators who are insensible 
to its power should confine their criticisms to the costumes of 
the box-holders. Fidelio is one of the most important works in 
the history of opera ; and the Messiah has not a firmer hold of 
the British public than Fidelio has of every class of unspoilt 
music-lover in Germany. The story is one of the finest ever put 
on the stage, and everybody in Germany knows it; which is for 
tunate, since nobody could ever make it out from the action, until 
it begins to explain itself in the dungeon scene. But in the first 
act the mystery is a mere puzzle, and even if Fidelio s disguise 
"is as transparent as most operatic male parts for female voices, 
the spectator has no evidence beyond the playbill that she is 
other than the strangely embarrassed lover of the adoring jailer s 

The difficulties of Fidelio are thus very instructive. Turn 
back from it to the almost nonsensical Zauberflote and observe 
how perfectly the comings and goings of Mozart s music explain 
themselves. Music begins naturally on the rise of the curtain, 
and stops naturally with the exits of all the characters except the 
youth who is lying unconscious. He revives, wonders where he 
is, hears a distant piping; and the approach of the bird-catcher, 
Papageno, explains the piping and is accompanied by the orches 
tral introduction to his song. Later on, three veiled ladies give 
the hero a miniature portrait of the princess he is to rescue. He 
gazes at the portrait and falls in love ; the orchestra heaves two 
sighs and Tamino s love-song begins. The scene darkens, the 
Queen of Night appears, enthroned among stars, pours out her 
woes and promises her daughter to the hero. She vanishes. 
Daylight returns. Tamino, wondering whether it was all a dream, 
is encountered by poor Papageno who, punished for his lies with 
a padlock on his mouth, can only sing hm, hm, hmm ; another per 
fect occasion for music, worked up in a quintet in which the three 
veiled ladies remove his padlock and instruct him and Tamino 
how to set forth on their quest. And so from point to point the 
happy nonsense proceeds, always right and effective in matters 
the mishandling of which may ruin the finest story. 

Coordination. These are the matters in which Sullivan, with 
his Gilbert, is as right as Wagner. It makes little difference 
whether the opera be with spoken dialogue, with dialogue in the 
secco-recitative of opera buffa, with the accompanied recitative 
of Gluck and of Weber s Euryanthe, or in absolute Wagnerian 


continuity. The composer will always have to demand from his 
librettist an effective timing of the chief musical opportunities, 
and from himself a royal punctuality in the relation of his music 
to the drama. Wagner s advice to young opera-writers was to 
begin with Singspiele. The a priori critic complains that spoken 
dialogue and music are on irreconcilably different planes; and so 
they are when the transitions are mishandled. But Mahler, one 
of the greatest opera conductors of all time, did not think the 
planes incompatible. He insisted on being his own stage manager 
(which laudable example has been followed by Sir Thomas 
Beecham), and he rehearsed every word and every pose in the 
dialogue of Fidelia. 

Secco-recitative, i.e. recitative accompanied on the pianoforte 
(or harpsichord), is no bad medium when it is properly done, 
namely, at the pace of spoken dialogue and, on the part of the 
conductor (who takes the pianoforte), with a light touch and 
some discreetly humorous gagging . Modern composers, of 
course, might as well attempt prehistoric Chinese as try to revive 
this convention. With accompanied recitative and other more 
highly organized music the composer begins to lose the clear out 
lines of the problem of timing his chief musical events ; and the 
wisdom of Wagner s advice appears. For only in the Singspiel t 
with FreiscMtz and Zauberflote as examples, and with Fidelia as 
both an inspiration and a warning, do we see the bones of opera 
laid bare. 

These principles are more important than any details of 
chronological operatic history. The reader who has grasped 
them can afford to ignore most of the patriotic and political 
aspects that have made this or that opera famous. Der Frcischiitz 
was the first German opera that had a truly German subject ; and 
Wagner, speaking at a reburial of Weber s remains, said that 
there never was a more German composer. Very true, but that 
did not prevent Weber from following FreiscMtz by Euryanthe, 
his greatest effort, on a subject of chivalry ruined by an incom 
petent librettist; nor from contributing his swan song, Oberon, 
to the English stage and the English operatic tradition which, 
ever since the time of Dryden and Purcell, inculcated an utter 
incoherence in the musical scheme. Weber s distress at being 
made to compose separate numbers as Blanche sent them to him, 
with no information as to their order or context, was surpassed 
only by his disgust at finding that Blanche was quite right in 
thinking that such information did not matter. 

Euryanthe^ with its elaborate accompanied recitative and its 
thirteen distinct leitmotives (to anticipate the Wagnerian term), 
is an opera on lines hardly less advanced than those of Wagner s 
Lohengrin. Weber retains the outward appearance of the division 

152 OPERA 

into separate numbers, as arias, duets, finales, and so on ; but the 
division is becoming artificial, and some vestiges of its real pur 
port are useless. For example, the condemnation of Euryanthe 
at the end of the second act is expanded by Weber into a longish 
movement merely because he does not realize that a short out 
burst would suffice to round off the whole act far more grandly 
than a self-contained finale. 

Wagner. With Wagner s Der FHegende Hollander extremes 
meet. It purports to be divided into nine numbers , but the 
musical traces of such divisions are only a nuisance, and the 
formal expansion of the Dutchman s duet with Senta is as out of 
place as a Punch and Judy show, besides being very poor music. 
On the other hand, the division into three acts is a grudging con 
cession to the brutal necessities of the first performances, for 
Wagner conceived and executed Der FHegende Hollander as a 
one-act opera, with continuous music during its changes of 
scene. It has been divided into three as if by a butcher s chopper, 
cutting off the curtain music at the first available tonic chord, 
and restarting it at the cut or a little earlier. The opera ought 
always to be performed in one act. Spohr s comment on it was 
that it had too few full closes and rounded-off forms. This shows 
how far it still seemed recognizable to him as a classical opera. 

Wagner s mature work solves the problem of a music on the 
same time-scale as the drama. Every other feature of Wagner s 
art results naturally from this. Musical dialogue becomes com 
pletely realistic, to such an extent that Wagner could not at first 
(in Die Walkure) make up his mind to let his lovers sing together. 
He overcame this scruple in Tristan, and so recovered the classi 
cal art of making a composite emotional tableau. This he de 
veloped to unprecedented heights in Die Meistersinger von Nurn- 
berg. The continuity of such highly organized music demanded 
a rational organization of recognizable themes. What more in 
evitable principle could organize them but that of association 
with personal and dramatic ideas? Thus Wagner s system of 
leitmotive grew up as naturally as the thematic organization of 
sonatas. The illustrations at the end of the article MELODY give 
a typical example of his handling of a theme in various contexts. 
Other aspects of his music are illustrated in HARMONY and 


Not only was Wagner his own librettist, but he succeeded in 
making clear and cogent upon the stage stories and ideas that no 
dramatist, musical or non-musical, had thought possible before. 
It is always a mistake to suppose that the libretto, however con 
temptible as literature, can be neglected in the enjoyment of an 
opera, however great as music. But Wagner s dramas, with all 
their affectations and amateurishnesses of style, are pieces of 

OPERA 153 

epoch-making stage-craft and overwhelming tragic powers, ex 
cept Meistersinger, which achieves the yet higher mark of a 
comedy full of kindly wisdom and bathed in sunshine, with no 
shadows deeper than moonshine ; for even its poor little villain, 
Beckmesser, is only a critic. 

It was not Wagner s fault that so many of his epigonoi neglected 
his advice and, instead of writing Singspiele, refused to tackle 
anything smaller than continuations of the sorrows of Wotan. 
Lighter forms of opera prospered, nevertheless. Bizet first wrote 
Carmen as an opera comique. It is doubtful whether it has been 
improved by the compression of its spoken dialogue into accom 
panied recitative, though this is well done and the recitatives have 
their points. It carries to an extreme the device of rationalizing 
the musical occasions; for if it were performed as a play an 
enormous amount of the music would still remain as songs or 
dances. Meistersinger is almost as full of songs and choruses on 
the same realistic basis. 

The last works of Verdi have a complete Wagnerian con 
tinuity, but they reveal that unless the music is inveterately 
polyphonic the leitmotive system is Wagner s private affair, 
which need concern nobody else. 

Modern Opera. Space fails for anything like a complete re 
view of modern opera ; but it may be noted that the prevalence 
of Wagnerian continuity eventually enabled composers to take 
extant dramas and set them without any extensive remodelling 
at all. If the operas PelUas et Melisande, Salome, and Electra 
are compared with the original plays by Maeterlinck, Wilde, and 
Hofmannsthal, it will be found that the poets have suffered less 
from Debussy and Strauss than dramatic authors usually suffer 
from actor-managers. Debussy has omitted Maeterlinck s diffi 
cult and not musical first scene of the servants who, having heard 
of the prince s approaching return with a strange bride, must be 
speaking after the following scene, in which Golaud first meets 
Melisande in the forest. By omitting the first scene Debussy 
secures an opening in the right atmosphere but loses the basis of 
the entry of the servants in the last scene of all. Here history 
repeats itself, for Weber offended the librettist of Freischiitz by 
refusing to compose an opening scene with the hermit who ap 
pears as deus ex macliina at the end. In both cases the composers 
are right, though the sacrifice is serious. 

Debussy and Strauss have so treated these three plays that 
they are better acted when given as operas than when given 
without music. No actress except an opera singer ever has her 
declamation and movements so superbly timed, and timed per 
manently to the tenth of a second, as in these wonderful pieces 
of musical stage-craft. The methods of the two composers are 

154 OPERA 

poles asunder, and Debussy s language is, as has been said else 
where, the exact opposite of Maeterlinck s. Yet from his oppo 
site direction Debussy reaches the Maeterlinckian world. He has 
no leitmotives, hardly even a recurring figure. Strauss uses the 
whole Wagnerian system, together with his own al fresco tech 
nique (the term is also his own, see INSTRUMENTATION, last sec 

In later works Strauss and Hofmannsthal have shown that they 
accept no limits to the number of different kinds of opera that 
one composer may write. An annotated catalogue would be re 
quired to keep pace with the various types of modern opera from 
the parodistic to the tragic and the symbolical. 

A few final definitions may serve to fill up lacunae in an 
account which has deliberately sacrificed historical order to the 
laying down of a few broad aesthetic criteria. Besides the mat 
ters already defined the following particulars should be noted : 

1. Singspiel originated in farces, such as DittersdorFs Doktor 
und Apotheker. But in France the opera comique, which corre 
sponds to Singspiel, had no comic origin at all, but arose from 
the refusal of the Academie de Musique to allow rival companies 
to infringe its monopoly of Grand Opera, or opera in which every 
word is sung and even the recitatives have orchestral accompani 

2. French Grand Optra has had a continuous history from the 
foundation of the Academie de Musique in 1669 to the present day. 
It absorbed the works of Meyerbeer, which so infuriated Wagner 
by producing effects* without assuming any responsibility for 
causes. And this is all that can be said of Meyerbeer here. 

3. Opera bouffe has no historic connexion with opera buff a but 
is the offshoot of vaudeville music in the early classical sense 
described above. Its chief representative on the Continent is 
Offenbach, and it is the ancestor of the Savoy operas of Gilbert 
and Sullivan. 

4. Melodrama is the use of an orchestral accompaniment to 
spoken dialogue. It is promising in theory, but generally dis 
appointing in effect, because the speaking voice becomes dragged 
by the music into an out-of-tune sing-song. Benda never let the 
voice speak during any notes except a long-sustained chord. 
Mozart, after one example in an unfinished opera, Zaide, dropped 
this form, though he admired Benda s essays so much that he 
put them under his pillow during his travels.x Other classical 
examples are significantly short and cautious. There is one in 
Fidelio which quotes from earlier movements in a thoroughly 
Wagnerian way. But the device is more prominent in incidental 
music to plays, as in Beethoven s music for Goethe s Egmont. 
Mendelssohn s music for A Midsummer Night s Dream contains 

OPERA 155 

the most brilliant and resourceful examples yet achieved; but 
they are beyond the musical capacity of the English non-operatic 
theatre, which, however, has practised the worst style of the 
method, till it has become a disease spreading an operatic con 
tinuity of bad music over large tracts of our drama. 

In every period of musical fermentation the art of opera, while 
it has failed to sift good composers from bad, has instantly sifted 
the men of real ideas from the aesthetes and faddists; Monte 
verdi from the Prince of Venosa, Gluck from Gossec, Wagner 
from Bruckner on the one hand and Liszt on the other. As the 
ferment subsides laziness levels opera sooner than anything else ; 
but every revolutionary principle that enters into music to destroy 
and expand must, first or finally, seek its ratification on the 



ORATORIO, the name given to a form of religious music with 
chorus, solo voices, and orchestra, independent of, or at least 
separable from, the liturgy, and on a larger scale than the cantata 
(q.v.). Its history is involved in that of opera (see ARIA and 
OPERA), but its antecedents are more definite. The term is almost 
certainly derived from the fact that St. Filippo Neri s Oratory 
was the place for which Animuccia s settings of the Laudi Spirit- 
uali were written ; and the custom of interspersing these hymns 
among liturgical or other forms of the recitation of a Biblical 
story is one of several origins of modern oratorio. A more ancient 
source is the use of incidental music in miracle plays and in such 
dramatic processions as the twelfth-century Prose de rAne, which 
on i January celebrated at Beauvais the Flight into Egypt. But 
the most ancient origin of all is the Roman Catholic rite of 
reciting, during Holy Week, the story of the Passion according 
to the Four Gospels, assigning the words of the Evangelist to a 
tenor, distributing all ipsissima verba among appropriate voices, 
and giving the responsa turbae, or utterances of the whole body 
of disciples (e.g. Lord, is it I? ) and of crowds, to a chorus. 
The only portion of this scheme that concerned composers was 
the responsa turbae, to which it was permitted to add polyphonic 
settings of the Seven Last Words or the eucharistic utterances of 
the Saviour. The narrative and the parts of single speakers were 
sung in the Gregorian tones appointed in the liturgy. Thus the 
settings of the Passion by Victoria and Soriano represent a per 
fect solution of the art-problem of oratorio. * Very tame Jews 
is Mendelssohn s comment on the sixteenth-century settings of 
Crucify Him ; and it has been argued that Soriano s and Vic 
toria s aim was not to imitate the infuriated Jews, but to express 
the contrition of devout Christians telling the story. On the 
other hand, ancient tradition ordained a noisy scraping of feet 
on the stone floor to indicate the departure from the place of the 
judgement seat! And so we owe the central forms of Bach s 
Lutheran Passion-oratorios to the Roman Catholic ritual for 
Holy Week. 

With the monodic revolution at the outset of the seventeenth 
century the history of oratorio as an art-form wholly controlled 
by composers begins. There is nothing but its religious subject 
to distinguish the first oratorio, Emilio del Cavaliere s Rappre- 
sentazione dianima e dicorpo, from the first opera, Peri s Euridice, 
both produced in 1600. Differentiation was brought about 
primarily by the fact that oratorios without stage presentation 


gave opportunity for a revival of choral music. And oratorios on 
the stage discouraged, by reason of their sacred subjects, what 
ever vestiges of dramatic realism could survive the ascendancy 
of the aria (q.v.). For lesser composers than Bach and Handel 
this ubiquitous form represented almost the only possibility of 
keeping music alive, or at least embalmed, until the advent of the 
dramatic and sonata styles. The efforts of Carissimi (d. 1674) in 
oratorio clearly show how limited a divergence from the method 
of opera was possible when music was first emancipated from the 
stage. Yet his art shows the corruption of Church music by a 
secular style rather than the rise of Biblical music-drama to the 
dignity of Church music. Normal Italian oratorio remains indis 
tinguishable from serious Italian opera as late as La Betulia 
liber ata, which Mozart wrote at the age of 15. Handel s La 
Resurrezzione and // Trionfo del Tempo contain many pieces 
simultaneously used in his operas, and they contain no chorus 
beyond a perfunctory operatic final tune. // Trionfo del Tempo 
was a typical morality play, and it became a masque, like Ads and 
Galatea and Semele, when Handel at the close of his life adapted 
it to an English translation with several choral and solo interpola 
tions from other works. Yet between these two versions of the 
same work lies half the history of classical oratorio. The rest lies 
in the German Passion-oratorios that culminate in Bach; after 
which the greatest music avoids every form of oratorio until the 
two main streams, sadly silted up, and never afterwards quite 
pure, unite in Mendelssohn. 

Luther was so musical that, while the German Reformation 
was far from conservative of ancient liturgy, it retained almost 
everything which makes for musical coherence in a Church ser 
vice ; unlike the English Church, which, with all its insistence on 
historic continuity, so rearranged the liturgy that no possible 
music for an English Church service can ever form a coherent 
whole. The four Passions and the Historia der Auferstehung 
Christi of H. Schiitz (who was born in 1585, exactly a century 
before Bach) are as truly the descendants of Victoria s Passions 
as they are the ancestors of Bach s. They are Protestant in their 
use of the vulgar tongue, and narrative and dialogue are set to 
free composition instead of Gregorian chant, although written in 
Gregorian notation. The Marcus Passion is in a weaker and more 
modern style and stereotyped in its recitative. It may be spurious. 
But in the other Passions, and most of all in the Anferstehung, the 
recitative is a unique and wonderful language. It may have been 
accompanied by the organ, though the Passions contain no hint 
of accompaniment at all. In the Auferstehung the Evangelist is 
accompanied by four viole da gamba in preference to the organ. 
The players are requested to * execute appropriate runs or pas- 


sages during the sustained chords. A final non-scriptural short 
chorus on a chorale-tune is Semite s only foreshadowing of the 
contemplative and hymnal element of later Passion oratorios. 

The Auferstehung, the richest and most advanced of all Schiitz s 
works, has one strange convention, in that single persons, other 
than the Evangelist, are frequently represented by more than 
one voice. If this were confined to the part of the Saviour, it 
would have shown a reverent avoidance of impersonation, as in 
Roman Catholic polyphonic settings of the Seven Words. But 
Schiitz writes thus only in Die Auferstehung and there on no 
particular plan. While the three holy women and the two angels 
in the scene at the tomb are represented naturally by three and 
two imitative voices, Mary Magdalene is elsewhere always repre 
sented by two sopranos. 

Shortly before Bach, Passion-oratorios were represented by 
several remarkable works of art, most notably by R. Keiser (1673- 
1739). Chorale-tunes, mostly in plain harmony, were freely 
interspersed in order that the congregation might take part in 
what was, after all, a Church service for Holy Week. The medi 
tations of Christendom on each incident of the story were ex 
pressed in accompanied recitatives (arioso) leading to arias or 
choruses, and the scriptural narrative was sung to dramatic reci 
tative and ejaculatory chorus on the ancient Roman plan. On 
slightly different lines was Graun s beautiful Todjesu, which was 
famous when the contemporary works of Bach were ignored. 

The difference between Bach s Passions and all others is simply 
the measure of his greatness. Where his chorus represents the 
whole body of Christendom, it has as peculiar an epic power as 
it has dramatic where it represents tersely the responsa turbae of 
the narrative. 

In the Matthew Passion the part of Christ has a special accom 
paniment of sustained strings, generally at a high pitch, though 
deepening at the most solemn moments. And at the words * Eli, 
Eli, lama sabacthani , this musical halo has vanished. In power 
of declamation Bach was anticipated by Keiser; but no one 
approached him in sustained inspiration and architectonic great 
ness. The forms of Passion music may be found in many of 
Bach s Church cantatas; a favourite type being the Dialogue; as, 
for instance, a dispute between a fearing and a trusting soul with, 
perhaps, the voice of the Saviour heard from a distance; or a 
dialogue between Christ and the Church, on the lines of the Song 
of Solomon. The Christmas Oratorio, a set of six Church can 
tatas for performance on separate days, treats the Bible story in 
the same way as the Passions, with a larger proportion of non- 
dramatic numbers. Many of the single Church cantatas are 
called oratorios, a term which by Bach s time seems definitely to 


have implied dialogue, possibly on the strength of a false ety 
mology. Thus Schiitz inscribes a monodic sacred piece in stilo 
Oratorio , meaning in the style of recitative*. The further 
history of oratorio radiates from the heterogeneous works of 

There are various types and several mixtures of style in Han- 
delian oratorio. The German forms of Passion music evidently 
interested Handel, and it was after he came to England, and 
before his first English oratorio, that he set to music the famous 
poetic version of the Passion by Brockes, which had been adopted 
by all the German composers of the time, and which, with very 
necessary improvements of taste, was largely drawn upon by 
Bach for the text of his Johannes-Passion. Handel s Brockes 
Passion does not appear ever to have been performed, though 
Bach found access to it and made a careful copy ; so Handel must 
have composed it for his own edification. He soon discovered 
that many kinds of oratorio were possible. The emancipation 
from the stage admitted of subjects ranging from semi-dramatic 
histories, like those of Saul, Esther, and Belshazzar, to cosmic 
schemes expressed entirely in the words of the Bible, such as 
Israel in Egypt and the Messiah. Between these types there is 
every gradation of form and subject; besides an abrupt contrast 
of literary merit between the mutilated Milton of Samson and the 
amazing absurdities of Susanna. 

The very name of HandePs first English oratorio, Esther, and 
the facts of its primary purpose as a masque and the origin of 
its libretto in Racine, show the transition from the stage to the 
Church; and, on the other hand, Hainan s lamentation on his 
downfall is scandalously adapted from the most sacred part of 
the Brockes Passion. 

We may roughly distinguish three main types of Handelian 
oratorio, not always maintained singly in whole works, but always 
available as methods. First, there is the operatic method, in 
which the arias and recitatives are the utterances of characters 
in the story, while the chorus is a crowd of Israelites, Babylonians, 
or Romans (e.g. Athalia, Belshazzar, Saul, &c.). The second 
method retains the dramatic roles both in solos and in choruses, 
but (as, for instance, in Envy, eldest born of Hell , in Saul} 
also uses the chorus as the voice of universal Christendom. 
Handel s audience demanded plenty of arias, most of which are 
accounted for by futile, when not apocryphal, love affairs. The 
haughty Merab and the gentle Michal are characterized with fatal 
ease, and make parts of Saul almost as impossible as most of 
Susanna. The third Handelian method is a series of choruses 
and numbers on a subject altogether beyond the scope of drama, 
as, for instance, the greater part of Solomon, and, in the case of 


the Messiah and Israel in Egypt, treated entirely in the words of 
Scripture, and those not in narrative but in prophecy and psalm. 

After Bach and Handel, oratorio fell upon evil days. The rise 
of the sonata style, which brought life to opera, was bad for 
oratorio; since not only did it accentuate the fashionable dislike 
of that polyphony which is essential even to mere euphony in 
choral writing, but its dramatic power became more and more 
disturbing to the epic treatment that oratorio naturally demands. 

Philipp Emanuel Bach s oratorios, though cloying in their soft 
ness and sweetness, achieved a true balance of style in the earlier 
days of the conflict ; indeed, a judicious selection from Die 
Israeliten in der Wiiste (1769) would perhaps bear revival almost 
as well as Haydn s Tobias (1774). 

The Creation (Die Schopfung) and The Seasons (Die Jahres- 
zeiten) will always convey to unspoilt music-lovers the profound 
message of the veteran Haydn, who could not help * worshipping 
God with a cheerful heart . This spirit was well known to Bach, 
the composer of Mein glaiibiges Herze, and it is compatible with 
the romantic sound-pictures and Handelian sublimity of the 
opening Representation of Chaos and the great chord of C major 
at the words and there was light . The childlike gaiety of much 
of the rest ought not to blind us to its fundamental greatness, 
which brings the naively realistic birds and beasts of The Crea 
tion into line with even the wine-chorus in the mainly secular 
Seasons, and removes Haydn from the influence of the vile taste 
which henceforth pervaded oratorios, until Mendelssohn effected 
a partial improvement. Haydn strenuously resisted the persua 
sion to undertake The Seasons, which had a close connexion with 
Thomson s poem, as The Creation had a distant connexion with 
Paradise Lost. He thought the whole scheme * Philistine (his 
own word) and, both before he yielded to persuasion and after he 
had finished the work, said all the hard things about it that have 
ever been said since. 

Roman Catholic oratorio was under the disadvantage that it 
was not permitted to take Biblical texts except in the Latin lang 
uage. Jomelli s Passione for once had the benefit of a meditative 
text with some distinction of style ; and in closing the first part 
with a dominant seventh on the word pensaci he achieved a 
stroke of genius which at the present day would still startle the 
listener and leave his mind in the desired frame of meditative 

But words fail to characterize the libretto of Beethoven s unfor 
tunate Christus am Oelberge (c. 1800). The texts of Lutheran 
Church music had often been grotesque and even disgusting; but 
their barbarity was pathetic in comparison with the sleek vul 
garity of a libretto in which not only is the agony of the garden 


of Gethsemane represented by an aria (as in Handel s lamenta 
tion of Haman), but Christ sings a brilliant duet with the minis 
tering angel. In after years Beethoven had not a good word for 
this work, which, nevertheless, contains some beautiful music 
exquisitely scored. And justice demands praise for the idea of 
making a Hallelujah chorus conclude the work as soon as the 
betrayal of Christ has been accomplished, thus compensating for 
the irreverent opening by avoiding all temptation to treat the 
rest of the Passion story with the same crassness. A well-meant 
effort was made to provide The Mount of Olives with an inoffen 
sive subject in English, but the stupidity of Engedi: or David in 
the Wilderness passes belief. 

Schubert s interesting fragment Lazarus is strangely prophetic 
of Wagnerian continuity and has a morbid beauty that transcends 
its sickly text. There are signs that the despair of the Sadducee 
was going to be treated with some power. The results might have 
been a masterpiece; but fate ruled that the next advance should 
again be Protestant. 

Bach s Passions were rediscovered by the boy Mendelssohn 
after a century of ignorance of their very existence ; and St. Paul 
(Paulus) and Elijah (Elias) rose upon the early middle nineteenth 
century like the sunrise of a new Handel. 

To-day St. Paul has almost sunk below the horizon ; and Elijah, 
which still shares with the Messiah the Christmas repertoire of 
every British urban choral society, is in many points an easy 
target for criticism. Yet the ascendancy of Mendelssohn is the 
one redeeming feature in the history of oratorio during the first 
three-quarters of the nineteenth century. Let us admit the de 
fects of Elijah , the all too lifelike tiresomeness of the widow 
(achieved after strenuous revision), the parochial softness of the 
double quartet, the Jewishness of the Jews (but is this a defect?), 
and the snorts of the trombones whose third summons causes 
the Almighty to capitulate : when all these unconscious profani 
ties are discounted, there remains a vivid and coherent oratorio 
which, musically and dramatically, towers above later works by 
many accomplished composers who despise it. 

Spohr is the only contemporary of Mendelssohn whose sacred 
music is still known. So tremendous a subject as that of The 
Last Judgement ought, indeed, to be treated with reserve; but the 
softness and slowness which pervades nine-tenths of Spohr s 
work is not reserve but self-indulgence. Spohr has moments of 
vision; but an almost random glance at the pages of St. Paul 
shows that even in eclipse Mendelssohn has characterization, 
movement, and the capacity for thrilling dramatic moments. 

In England, the influence of Mendelssohn completed the 
devastation begun by our inveterate habit of praising the in- 


spired literary skill of the sacred narrative, as a preface to our 
restatement of it in forty times as many words of our own. 
Deans and chapters listened in graceful official pride and imper 
fectly secret glee to the strains in which the cathedral organist 
celebrated with equal realism the destruction of Sennacherib s 
hosts and his own octuply-contrapuntal doctorate of music. 
Before 1880 our composers had, as Dr. Walker says, set with 
almost complete indiscrimination wellnigh every word of the 
Bible . Had they confined themselves to the second chapter of 
Ezra they would have escaped dangers of unconscious humour 
that lurk in the opportunities for * naturalness in declaiming the 
dialogues and illustrating the wonders of scriptural narrative. 

Neither Sterndale Bennett nor Macfarren improved matters; 
but Parry and Stanford, towards the end of the century, com 
pletely changed the situation. Stanford s Eden has a libretto by 
Robert Bridges. The disgruntled professional librettists, who 
were also musical critics, had the effrontery to say that this mag 
nificent poem would be the better for extensive cuts. The real 
truth is that Stanford s music, especially in its orchestral intro 
ductions, is diffuse. But it has many beautiful features, and 
achieves a coherent scheme on exactly such lines of Wagnerian 
continuity as can be applied to oratorio. Parry preferred^ to be 
his own librettist, and by this means he achieved more significant 
results. The lapses of the amateur poet are less distressing than 
the cliches of the ordinary professional librettist; and the works 
of Parry and Stanford permanently raised English oratorio from 
squalor and made it once more an art-form which educated 
people could enjoy. Some of Parry s architectonic and dramatic 
ideas will never lose the power to thrill, if only the works as 
wholes can live in spite of a certain dryness of melody and heavi 
ness of texture. For example, the exploit of Judith is shown with 
a total avoidance of the cheap and salacious opportunity for a 
scene between her and Holofernes. Instead, we listen to the 
watchmen anxiously making their circuit of the city walls in 
darkness. The music of their march is at a low pitch. It is reach 
ing a normal close when, high above the tonic chord, the cry of 
Judith bids the watchmen open the gates to her. If this moment 
cannot thrill, there is no meaning in art. In King Saul Parry- 
made a significant discovery as to the emancipation of dramatic 
oratorio from the stage conditions of time and space. The Witch 
of Endor prophesies the battle of Gilboa. Her tale becomes real 
in the telling and is immediately followed by the final dirge. 

As with opera, so, but more easily, with oratorio, the method 
of Wagnerian continuity at last enabled composers to take extant 
poems and set them to music in their entirety. Thus the fragrant 
mysticism of Roman Catholic oratorio, dimly adumbrated in 


Schubert s Lazarus, at last came to fruition in Elgar s wonderful 
setting of Newman s Dream of Gerontius, while the old miracle 
play Everyman was very successfully composed by Walford 
Davies. In his later works, The Apostles and The Kingdom, 
Elgar pursues a comprehensive religious design on texts arranged 
by himself. Oratorio on the basis of Wagnerian continuity and 
leitmotive is unquestionably a living art-form. Its greatest diffi 
culty is its fatal facility. The oratorio-composer is lost who omits 
to transcend the limits of the stage; yet when these are trans 
cended only the steadfastness of genius can prevent the composer 
from sinking to the fashion-storming eclecticism of Honegger s 
Le Roi David, which, with the aid of a reciter to read the Bible, 
takes up the arts of all periods from Handel to 1927 and drops 
each of them before anything like an art-problem arises. 

Why not follow more often the method of the Messiah and of 
Israel in Egypt ; and deal with religious subjects in terms of 
prophecy and psalm? Brahms s Deutsches Requiem is really an 
oratorio ; and since its production (all but one later movement) 
in 1866 it continues year by year to tower over all other choral 
music since Beethoven s Mass in D. Form, disciplined form, is 
not the only thing needed to save future oratorios from the 
limbo of vanity; but it is their first need. 


OVERTURE (Fr. ouverture, opening), a detachable instrumental 
introduction to a dramatic or choral composition. The notion 
of an overture had no existence until the seventeenth century. 
The toccata at the beginning of Monteverdi s Orfeo is a barbaric 
flourish of every procurable instrument, alternating with a melo 
dious section entitled * ritornello ; and, in so far as this constitutes 
the first instrumental movement prefixed to an opera, it may be 
called an overture. As an art-form the overture began to exist 
in the works of J. B. Lully. His favourite, but not his only, 
form constitutes the typical French overture that became classical 
in the works of Bach and Handel. This French overture consists 
of a slow introduction in a marked dotted rhythm (i.e., exag 
gerated iambic, if the first chord is disregarded), followed by a 
lively movement in fugato style. The slow introduction was 
always repeated, and sometimes the quick movement concluded 
by returning to the slow tempo and material, and was also re 
peated (see Bach s French Overture in the Klavierubung). 

The operatic French overture was frequently followed by a 
series of dance tunes before the curtain rose. It thus naturally 
became used as the prelude to a suite (q.v.) ; and the term was 
then applied to the whole suite. 

Bach was able to adapt the French overture to choruses, and 
even to the treatment of chorales. Thus the overture-movements 
of his Fourth Orchestral Suite became the first chorus of the 
Church Cantata Unser Mund sei voll Lachens; the choruses of 
the Cantatas Preise Jerusalem den Herrn and Hochst erwunschtes 
Freudenfest are in overture form; and, in the first of the two 
Cantatas entitled Nun komm der Heiden Heiland, Bach has 
adapted the overture form to the treatment of a chorale. 

Gluck could find no use for the French overture. In the epoch- 
making preface to Alceste he laid down the rule that the overture 
should be the musical argument of the drama. And the perfunc 
tory overture to Orfeo is the only exception to the rule that in 
his great operas the orchestral introduction is actually interrupted 
by the rise of the curtaip. In Iphigenie en T amide it is merely the 
calm before the storm. 

The abolition of the French overture did not, however, lead at 
first to any widespread adoption of Gluck s loose-knit Italian 
texture. The next form of overture was that of a three-movement 
symphony (q.v.) in sonata style. In Mozart s early opera La 
Finta Giardiniera the curtain rises upon what should have been 
the third movement; and in all later works the overture is dis- 


tinguished from symphonic music in style as well as form. It 
is a single quick movement (with or without a slow introduction) 
in sonata form, loose in texture, without repeats, and frequently 
without a development section. Sometimes, in place of develop 
ment , there is a melodious episode in slow time ; as in Mozart s 
overtures to Die Entfuhrung and to the fragment Lo Sposo dehiso, 
in both of which cases the curtain rises at a point which throws 
a dramatic light upon this feature. Mozart at first intended a 
similar episode in the overture to Figaro, but struck it out as 
soon as he had begun it. 

In Beethoven s hands the overture became more and more 
unlike the symphony, but it no longer remained an inferior 
species ; and the final version of the overture to Leonora is the 
most gigantic single orchestral movement ever based on the 
sonata style. Weber s overtures work out prominent themes in 
his operas in a loose but effective sonata form, and are effective 
concert-pieces besides serving Gluck s purposes admirably. 

Overtures to plays naturally tend to become detached from 
their surroundings ; and hence arises the concert overture, led by 
Beethoven s mighty Cotiolan, and second only to the symphony 
as an orchestral art-form. Its derivation implies that it is pro 
gramme music (q.v.), but the programme need not impair the 
form, whether the form be Berlioz s or Brahms s, and the pro 
gramme particular or generalized. Among overtures with a 
generalized programme Mendelssohn s Hebrides Overture is a 
perfect masterpiece; and so is Brahms s Tragic Overture, one 
of the greatest orchestral movements since Beethoven. Brahms s 
Academic Festival Overture is a glorious working out of 
German student songs. 

In modern opera the overture, Prelude, Vorspiel, or whatever 
else it may be called, is often nothing more definite than that 
portion of the music which takes place before the curtain rises. 
Tannhduser is the last important opera in which the overture 
retains vestiges of a self-contained sonata form. Fifty years 
before Wagner s wonderful Vorspiel to Lohengrin, Mehul had 
achieved an equally complete departure from classical forms in 
his interesting overtures to Ariodant and Uthal, in the latter of 
which a voice is heard on the stage before the rise of the curtain. 
Even the most self-contained of Wagner s later preludes lose by- 
transference to the concert-room. The glorious Vorspiel to Die 
Meistersinger is nobler when its long crescendo leads to the rise 
of the curtain and the engaging of all the listener s sense of sight 
and language, than when it can merely lead to a final tonic 
chord. Wagner himself added a page to finish the Vorspiel to 
Tristan, and by the richness and subtlety of that page he reveals 
how unready for independent existence the original Vorspiel was. 


He also finished the Parsifal Vorspiel for concert use by the 
addition of a few extra bars, which will always sound perfunc 
tory. The four dramas of Der Ring begin with introductions 
designed to prepare the hearer immediately for the rise of the 
curtain ; and these works can no more be said to have overtures 
than Verdi s Falstaff and Strauss s Salome, Electra, and Die 
Frau ohm Schatten, in which the curtain rises at the first note 
of the music. 


PROGRAMME MUSIC, a nickname which is the only current term 
for instrumental music without words but descriptive of non- 
musical ideas. Musical sounds lend themselves to descriptive 
purposes with fatal ease. A chromatic scale may suggest the 
whistling of the wind or the serenades of cats. Reiterated stac 
cato notes may suggest raindrops or the cackling of hens. Again, 
music is powerfully suggestive of emotion ; and the emotions it 
calls up may fit some particular story, or may resemble those 
inspired by a sunset or a storm. But chromatic scales, reiterated 
notes, emotional contrasts and climaxes, are also normal musical 
resources ; and nothing infuriates a musician more than the non- 
musical explanation of such things where the composer s aim 
was purely musical. Sound as it occurs in nature is too inorganic 
to form the raw material for art, and so there is no natural ten 
dency in music to include, as a * subject , any item not inherent 
in the art-form. Explicit programme music has thus never been 
a thing of cardinal importance, though it has often been promi 
nent and always popular. But the conditions of artistic creation 
are not to be confounded with any correct theory of art. The 
doctrine of art for art s sake is correct: but it concerns results, 
not processes, and many of the purest works of art have been 
produced for ulterior purposes. 

Until recent times no composer has written for the voice with 
out words, for speech is a privilege which the human voice will 
not willingly renounce. No doctrine of absolute music will pre 
vent a good composer from shaping his vocal music to the words 
which he sets. Good literature will inspire him to explore and 
express its inner meaning. Bad literature may suggest to him the 
truths it misrepresents ; and the great composers are quicker to 
seize the truth than to criticize its verbal presentation or to sus 
pect insincerity. The earliest mature musical art was, then, in 
evitably descriptive, since it was vocal. While programme music 
derives many of its characteristics from ancient times, it cannot 
properly be said to have existed until the rise of modern instru 
mental music, based upon external ideas and independent of the 
use of words. 

A complete code of musical symbolism came to maturity in the 
sixteenth century. Part of it was profoundly true and character 
istic of moods ; part was harmlessly mechanical ; and a few details 
were manifestly false, as when the words atra nox are represented 
by a curiously jaunty rhythm because that rhythm is indicated by 
black notes. When symbolism, true or false, has thus arisen in 


vocal music it may be expected to retain its intention in music 
without words. But we must not expect too much descriptive 
power in early instrumental music ; and when a scholar tells us 
that a funeral piece for organ by Froberger depicts in its final 
rising melisma the ascent of the soul to heaven, he unwittingly 
accuses Froberger of sinister intentions in a precisely similar 
funeral piece which ends with a descent to the lowest bass. 

The resources of the modern orchestra can attain a realism 
which at first seems less ridiculous than that of earlier descriptive 
music. But the expensive realism of the dozen muted brass 
instruments which in Strauss s Don Quixote accomplish in ten 
rehearsals what a flock of sheep achieve extempore, is not less but 
more childish than the thunderstorm in the Fitzwilliam Virginal 

Beethoven s Theory of Expression. On the other hand, when 
superior persons object to the childishness of the birds and the 
thunderstorms in Beethoven s Pastoral Symphony, it is they 
who are childish in supposing that realism is in question at all. 
The real cuckoo, nightingale, and quail happen to be musical 
birds whose themes are exactly what Beethoven wants for a break 
in the rhythm at a point of repose in the coda of his slow move 
ment. Similar final digressions can be seen in slow movements 
with no programme at all, e.g. in the Violin Sonata, op. 24, 
the Pianoforte Sonata in D minor, op. 31, no. 2, and the 
String Quintet in C major, op. 29. Not a bar of the Pastoral 
Symphony would be otherwise if its programme had never 
been thought of. The merry meeting of country folk is a sub 
ject that lends itself admirably to Beethoven s form of scherzo 
(q.v.); and the thunderstorm, which interrupts the last repetition 
of this scherzo and forms a tremendous introduction to the peace 
ful finale, is as musical as other unique features in Beethoven s 
pure art-forms. 

Beethoven is recorded to have said that he always composed 
according to a picture he had in his rnind; and he sometimes 
gave his friends an explanation, jocular or evasive, of some par 
ticular composition. But the word Bild is much more indefinite 
than picture ; and Beethoven s dull Boswell, Schindler, often 
exasperated him into defending himself by saying the first non 
sense that would serve to stop foolish questions. Composers who 
have much to express cannot spare time for translating it into 
other terms than those of their own art. The Eroica Symphony, 
though inspired by Beethoven s short-lived belief in Napoleon as 
the liberator of mankind, is not programme music at all. The 
funeral march represents heroic death and a mourning world, but 
not the obsequies of a biographical subject ; and when critics tell 
us that the finale is *an inappropriate concession to sonata form , 


they merely show themselves unmusical without thereby becom 
ing literary. The profound and subtle Sonata Les Adieux, I Ab 
sence, et le Retour is true programme music. It represents Beetho 
ven s feelings on parting from the Archduke Rudolph when the 
royal family left Vienna shortly before its bombardment. It deals 
only with the parting, the absence, and the rejoining of the two 
men. Nothing is heard of war, and the sentiment is as deep as 
it is manly. Beethoven s private sketch-books record that the 
work is written from the heart ; no courtly formula, even if this 
was shown to the Archduke. Ingenuity is misplaced in tracing 
external details. (The end of the first movement of Les Adieux 
has been compared to the departure of a coach.) The real emo 
tional basis is universal and musical. 

Beethoven summed up the whole theory of great programme 
music in his note to the Pastoral Symphony; rather the ex 
pression of feelings than sound-painting . Overtures to plays or 
operas cannot so easily dispense with story- telling; but Beetho 
ven refuses to be drawn into a chronological series of illustrations. 
His Overtures to Coriolan, Egmont, and Leonore deal with salient 
emotions roused by their subjects. Wagner was able to place the 
substance of the Coriolan Overture in Shakespeare s scene be 
tween Coriolanus and his mother and wife before the gates of 
Rome; but Thayer found that the forgotten poet Collin s play, 
which was Beethoven s subject, sheds far more light on the music. 
The music, however, once it took shape, could do without Collin 
or Shakespeare. The Leonore Overture was at first (in the form 
known as No. 2) a huge prelude to the opera, with a gigantic 
exposition and development, and the shortest wind-up compatible 
with adequacy, after the trumpet-call behind the scene has re 
lieved the tension. In the later version (Leonore, No. 3) Beet 
hoven ruthlessly compresses the exposition until the trumpet-call 
becomes the middle point of the design, which afterwards ex 
pands in a further development, a full recapitulation, and a 
climax which makes this overture the first and greatest of all 
symphonic poems (q.v.). Critics who cavil at the trumpet-call 
as a weakness from the point of view of absolute music only 
show that they cannot tell absolute music from absolute non 
sense. Distance is surely too elementary a phase of sound to be 
excluded from absolute music, nor can the fanfares of a trumpet 
be separated either from the instrument or from its associations. 
As a piece of absolute music Leonore, No. 3, is a huge movement 
in sonata form rising steadily to a point at which the tension is 
relieved by the new incident of a distant trumpet-call, after which 
the music expands from sheer joy. Beethoven s maxim mehr 
Ausdruck der Empfindung ah Malerei therefore holds here, and 
bridges the gulf between absolute and illustrative music. 


Portrayal of Characters and Moods. This is equally true with 
archaic and modern programme music; it is always characters 
and moods that are successfully portrayed, while chronology is 
useless and the illustration of incidents is apt to be ridiculous 
unless it contrives to be witty. Thus, the Bible Sonatas of 
J. Kuhnau (published in 1700) and their clever imitation in 
Bach s early Capricdo on the Departure of a Beloved Brother 
rely mainly on moods, and are successful with incidents only 
when these would be accompanied by music in real life or drama. 
If Kuhnau s music were half as vivid or inventive as his prose 
introductions it would be immortal. But much may be learnt 
from noting how his unconsciously humorous prose describes 
other things than the music attempts to portray and omits the 
very things in which the music is at its best. While Kuhnau 
strains himself, like a bad nurse telling bogy-stories, in his 
prefatory description of the size and appearance of Goliath, in 
the music it is the boasts (le bravate) of Goliath that are por 
trayed. The best movement in the Goliath Sonata is a figured 
chorale (Aus tiefer Noth schre? ich zu Dir) representing the terror 
and prayers of the Israelites. On the other hand the cast of 
David s sling, with the fall of Goliath, is not nearly so sublime 
as the fall of a tea-tray. Kuhnau s other subjects (Saul cured by 
David s music; The Marriage of Jacob 1 , The Healing of Hezekiah; 
Gideon; and The Funeral of Jacob) are all thoroughly musical; 
more so than he succeeds in making them. Bach s Capricdo 
describes the anxiety and sorrow of the friends of the departing 
brother; and his utmost realism takes the form of a lively fugue 
on the themes of the postilion s coach-horn and cracking whip. 
Buxtehude illustrated the nature and characters of the planets . 
This is an astrological, not an astronomical subject : the planets 
signify temperaments and their motions are the music of the 
spheres. No wonder, then, that this musical subject has been 
adopted in one of the outstanding masterpieces of modern orches 
tral music, The Planets, by Hoist. 

Adaptability of Lyrical Music. Instrumental music on the 
lyric scale lends itself to illustrative purposes more readily than 
larger forms. Nearly all the harpsichord pieces of Couperin have 
fantastic titles, and a few of them are descriptive music. His 
greater contemporary and survivor, Rameau, wrote important 
operas and much extremely graphic harpsichord music. La 
Poule, with its theme inscribed co-co-co-co-co-co-cocodai *, is 
an excellent movement in spacious form, and is also one of the 
most minutely realistic compositions ever written. French com 
posers have always contributed con amore to music that takes 
advantage of external stimulus; and already in 1801 descriptive 
music was considered so specially French that Haydn apologized 


for his imitation of frogs in The Seasons, saying that ihisfranzo- 
sische Quark (rubbish) had been forced on him by a friend. But 
throughout the growth of the sonata style, not excepting Haydn s 
own early work, the tendency towards gratuitously descriptive 
music often appears ; partly because there was no definite distinc 
tion between early symphonic music and overtures or incidental 
music to plays (e.g. Haydn s // Dzstratto). Dittersdorf s Sym 
phonies on the Metamorphoses of Ovid are excellent music in 
which the descriptive elements do not disturb the symphonic 
form until the metamorphosis, which is then illustrated in almost 
Wagnerian breadth. For instance, the first three movements of 
the Change of the Lycian peasants into Frogs show the rusticity 
of the peasants, the gracefulness of the goddess, and the rude 
ness of the peasants to the goddess ; and then the Finale indicates 
an altercation ended, after a pause, in a low mysterious quivering 
sound as of frogs in a marsh. 

Dittersdorf is not a great composer; but many more learned 
and resourceful artists have shown less than his common sense 
in distributing the descriptive and the formal elements of their 
music. It seems incredible that any composer could be so foolish 
as to commit himself to describing a chronological sequence in a 
sonata form which compels him to go through a full restatement 
of events which only happened once ; yet many composers refused 
to abandon either the sonata form or the chronological sequence. 
Lyric forms presented no such difficulties. 

Schumann and Spohr. Schumann sometimes invented his 
titles after his pianoforte lyrics were finished, and sometimes 
wrote on the inspiration of literature. In either case, as with 
Beethoven, the music throws far more light on the programme 
than the programme throws on the music. Musical people may 
profitably study E. T, A. Hoffman and Jean Paul Richter in the 
light of Schumann s Novelletten and Kreisleriana ; but if they do 
not already understand Schumann s music, Jean Paul and Hoff 
man will help them only to talk about it. In revising his early 
works Schumann sometimes made them more musical and some 
times destroyed grotesque touches that are musically as well as 
psychologically true. For instance, in the Damdsbundlertdnze 
(op. 6) the hot-headed Florestan, having finished an impassioned 
tirade, feels that he has been making a fool of himself. His last 
note pauses unharmonized and he sits down awkwardly. In a 
later edition, with unnecessary scruple, Schumann suppressed 
this detail together with the prose titles and signatures. The 
fashion of fantastic titles affected even the most formal composers 
during the romantic period. 

No one wrote more programme music than Spohr; and while 
Spohr s programme constantly conflicted with the externals of 


his form and ruined the latter part of his symphony Die Weihe 
der Tone, it did not broaden his style. Mendelssohn s Scotch 
and Italian Symphonies, and his ( Hebrides * Overture, are cases 
of generalized local colour. His Reformation Symphony, which 
he himself regarded as a failure, and which was not published 
until after his death, is a descriptive work less attractive but more 
coherent than Spohr s Weihe der Tone. The Overture to the 
Midsummer Night* s Dream is a marvellous musical epitome of 
Shakespeare s play; and the comparative slightness and conven 
tionality of its second theme closely correspond with Shake 
speare s two pairs of lovers, though it does not illustrate their 
quarrels under the fairy spells. 

Influence of Berlioz. Berlioz made programme music a vital 
issue in the nineteenth century. With an inextinguishable gift 
for voluminous composition he is utterly incapable of focussing 
his attention on either his music or his programme. The most 
trivial external detail may distract him at the height of his 
rhetoric. The moonshine and sentiment of the Scene d* amour, in 
his Romeo and Juliet Symphony are charming; and the agitated 
sighing episodes which interrupt its flow can be understood in 
the light of Shakespeare s balcony scene, if not by their musical 
sense. But when Berlioz thinks of the nurse knocking or calling 
at the door, he makes a realistic noise without either musical or 
dramatic purpose. It does not interrupt the duet, nor increase 
the emotional tension, nor illustrate Juliet s artifices for gaining 
time, nor her agitation at the interruptions of the nurse. Perhaps 
this was the passage on which a lady once congratulated Berlioz 
for his vivid representation of Romeo arrwant dans son cabriolet. 
This piece of purely orchestral music has an introduction in 
which real voices are heard from convivial persons returning 
home from the ball. Berlioz complains that the public has no 
imagination and that therefore certain sections which presuppose 
an intimate knowledge of Shakespeare s play avec le denouement 
de Garrick should be omitted. But what the public lacks for these 
sections is neither imagination nor familiarity with Garrick- 
Shakespeare, but a capacity to take the butterfly vagaries of 
Berlioz s mind as their basis of reference. 

With all his absurdities, Berlioz s genius for composition car 
ried him further towards a new music than Liszt was able to 
advance in his symphonic poems. These, as has been said in 
other articles (see MUSIC, sees, viii-x, and SYMPHONIC POEM), are 
the beginnings of an instrumental music that achieves the same 
continuity that Wagner achieved in music-drama. But Liszt 
hardly even began to achieve the right sort of movement; and 
his conscientious plan of deriving the whole piece from trans- 


formations of a single figure was quite irrelevant even when it 
was effective. As a musical illustrator he is clever; but he ties 
himself down to chronological sequence, which, though it does 
not conflict with his forms, is always open to Weingartner s objec 
tion that it cannot control the pace of the listener s thoughts. 
The composer s first view-halloo may make one listener fancy 
himself in at the death of the Blatant Beast, while the mind of 
another will plod to the end, to learn that that event never takes 

Strauss. The symphonic poems of Strauss are invulnerable 
by this objection, even though it is often true of their details. 
Most listeners will probably identify Don Quixote s tilting at 
windmills with the passage in which Strauss uses a stage wind- 
machine; but this represents a later adventure in which Don 
Quixote and Sancho are seated blindfold on wooden horses and 
are persuaded that they are flying on winged steeds through the 
air. Strauss s music, however, does not really depend on this 
sort of thing at all. His earliest symphonic poems are master 
pieces of new form and movement : Don Quixote is sectional only 
because its subject lends itself to an episodic treatment which 
Strauss has as much right as Humpty Dumpty to call variations ; 
and in it, no less than in Also sprach Zarathustra, Ein Heldenleben, 
the Sinfonia Domestic^ and their aftermath the Alpensinfonie, 
single designs are triumphantly accomplished in music of Wag- 
nerian continuity. It is not necessary that the designs should be 
perfect. Uncles and aunts may interrupt to say that the baby 
is the image of its dada or mamma ; and the wickedness of critics 
may devastate pages of the music of the hero who gave them 
their opportunity when he paused on a dominant chord to look 
round for applause; but local defects do not annihilate funda 
mental qualities. 

Caricature. One thread remains to be gathered into this ac 
count. Caricature is a rare and dangerous element in music, but 
it is as old as Orlandi di Lasso. Mozart, besides the subtleties 
of Cod fan tutte and the comic parts of Die Zauberflote, produced 
in his Musikalischer Spass a burlesque of village players and bad 
composers. On paper the work is a delicious study in the psycho 
logy of * howlers , and in its finale Mozart idealizes all the night 
mare stagnation of the composer whose tempo gets faster and 
faster while his phrasing gets slower and slower. In performance 
the effect is even more surprising than analysis would lead the 
reader to expect. But the Leipzig editors of the parts have 
crowned Mozart s farce by correcting the mistakes ! 

Caricature enters prominently into Strauss s Till Eulenspiegel> 
Don Quixote, and Ein Heldenleben , and also into many passages 


in Mahler s symphonies. Its danger is that it often lays these 
composers open to suspicion when they intend to be touchingly 

But nothing is more vexatious than the laying down of a priori 
limits to what is legitimate for artists. If sermons in the mind 
of the painter help him to paint, and pictures in the mind of the 
composer help him to compose, by all means let them get on with 
the work. 


LIKE all artistic categories musical rhythm must be studied his 
torically, in order to avoid Philistinism towards the rhythms of 
early periods, But the musical rhythms of the eighteenth and 
nineteenth centuries are so much more familiar to us than any 
others, and so radically different from speech-rhythms, that we 
shall do well to analyse them first. Their true relation to speech- 
rhythms will then become much clearer, and the study of older 
rhythms will be greatly simplified. 

Body-rhythm and Speech-rhythm. These are two prehistoric 
elements in musical rhythm; and in modem music they are 
in equipoise, though apart from music they are incompatible. 
Dance-rhythm is too narrow a term for the one, and speech- 
rhythm is a satisfactory term for the other. We may coin the 
term body-rhythm as giving the necessary extension to the notion 
of dance-rhythm. Musical body-rhythm, even in the slowest 
paces, is enormously stronger than anything known to prosody. 
It is no exaggeration to say that it is as strong as the pace of a 
horse. Not even Browning could have recited * How they brought 
the good news from Ghent to Aix with comfort while riding a 
galloping horse; but Schubert s Characteristic Marches (op. 121) 
do not merely imitate that pace but go far to stimulate it if played 
to a body of cavalry. Gentler rhythms may be less immediately 
understood, but, once grasped, are not more easily changed. The 
music must brace itself up for any abrupt change of its funda 
mental rhythm. But that fundamental rhythm may be very slow 
and lie very deep. 

In Ex. i, below, Haydn uses an underlying rhythm of thrice 
two beats. The beat is a quaver, for which one second is not 


1 & 2 <& 3 <ft 1 <fc 2 

3 & 1&2&3& 



too slow a tempo for this particular composition. Its whole group 
of six beats is invariably 3-7-2 and never 2-7-3. I* 1 this kind of 
music change from the one division to the other would be im 
possible without either violence or vagueness; unless it were a 
permanent change of metre. So important is the notion of 32 
that it is not counted as 6 at all, but as 1 & 2 & 3 &. Of these 
beats the first bears the chief stress, the second and third bear 
less, and there is no rule to give either more stress than the 
other. We are not, at present, considering the case of three beats 
quick enough to mark the rhythm without subdivision. Obviously 
the subdivisions (counted by & ) have no accent, except in 
relation to their own further subdivisions. Musical rhythms are 
measured from accent to accent ; and of pairs of accents the first 
is stronger than the second. In larger groups, if the rhythm is 
binary, the third accent will be stronger than the second, but not 
as strong as the first or fifth. At a very quick pace the difference 
of strength between the first accent and the fifth may become 
perceptible, but the rhythm would be inartistically stiff if such 
distinctions were not soon obliterated. 

Triple rhythm, whether slow and subdivided or quick and 
undivided, also falls readily into larger binary periods with the 
same relative strengths of accent. There is nothing to prevent it 
from falling into ternary periods, but the mind ceases to appre 
hend a high power of three rhythmically, for we cannot know that 
the third period of a slow group is not the first of a new pair. 

On these data it is now possible to analyse the rhythm of Ex. i. 
It begins on the main accent, with no anacrusis. Between the 
first and second quaver beats there is a group of grace-notes. In 
actual time these should come on the second quaver and reduce 
the length of the second main note instead of that of the first, but 
they have no accent, and the second main note has its due stress 
and is not noticed to have arrived late, even if the grace-notes 
have been taken with some deliberation. They are like the con 
sonants in the word three : it is easy to pronounce the word at a 
given moment, and nobody thinks of dividing it as thr-ee, though 
the consonants really take an appreciable time. 

During the second bar of six beats the accompaniment (not 
given here) takes its cue from the melody and divides the quaver- 
beats by 3 (and the crotchets by 6). This motion thereafter per 
vades the whole composition, sometimes in the melody, and 
always in the accompaniment, except when the whole orchestra 
pauses. These triplet semiquavers become equivalent to the 
average length of syllables in speech-rhythm, and the mind auto 
matically measures all pauses by them. Besides the indeterminate 
grace-notes there are definite shorter values. 

No rhythm in poetry or prose ever contemplated giving one 


syllable seven times the length of another, as we see in the double- 
dotted quavers with their complementary demisemiquavers. But 
in the fifth bar we have the whole six beats occupied by one sus 
tained note, eighteen times the length of the average syllable. 
Yet so cogent is the body-rhythm of these long and complex bars 
that a deviation from the symmetry of an eight-bar period is 
permissible only when a change of key introduces new topics, 
as happens immediately after this quotation. But this will lead 
us to the separate topic of phrasing. Irregularities in the lengths 
of the bars themselves would be quite impossible, except in the 
case of a dramatic or final pause. Haydn has one opportunity 
for a dramatic pause in the course of the movement, yet he does 
not leave it at that, but expands it to two entire normal bars 
filled with organized rhythms. 

Musical rhythm is not often as ornate as this, nor is this 
elaboration capable of much contrast or development, but the 
example at once carries us far away from the rhythms of poetry 
and includes all the musical principles so far mentioned. From 
it we can move a step nearer towards considering the simple 
relations between musical and poetic rhythm. 

The technical terms of prosody are of no use here, with the 
solitary exception of the word anacrusis, which may be general 
ized to mean anything that happens before the first principal 
accent. When Rockstro tells us that the theme of Weber s 
Rondo brillante in E flat (op. 62) is in anapaestic tetrameter 
brachycatalectic, very rigidly maintained , this tells us less about 
the music than Weber s brilliant theme tells us about these 
solemn terms. A more scientific idea of Weber s theme, and of 
the prosodic technicalities, may be obtained from the following 
paradigm, to be recited prestissimo. Each dash at the end of the 
line represents a quarter of a beat. 



dura, diddledum diddledum diddledum diddle dura diddledum diddledum: 

& 2 & I 1 & 2 & 

Diddle dum diddledum diddledum diddJedum diddle dum diddledum diddledum; - 

& 2 & 1 & 2 & 

After which Weber ceases to maintain his anapaestic-etcetera 
so rigidly, and proceeds for two lines with : 


diddle diddle diddle diddle diddle diddle dum dum dum dum dum dum Dido 

Such rapid rhythms at once remind us of Aristophanes or 
Gilbert, though they can move faster than syllables can be pro- 


nounced. If they coalesce into uniformity for a long period (e.g., 
diddle-diddle for several bars without a single dwri) they cease to 
resemble speech-rhythm and subside into vibration, unless melo 
dic interest sets up larger rhythms by illuminating a peak here 
and there. A common defect in second-rate music is the com 
poser s failure to know when his quick motion has settled down 
into mere vibration. 

Time. The body-rhythm underlying Weber s Rondo bril- 
lante is an unchangeable binary rhythm, counted (as the para 
digm shows) in a slow two or a quick four. Classical music uses 
only binary and ternary times, which, so long as vertebrate 
anatomy continues to develop with bilateral symmetry, are the 
only ones that yield a strong body-rhythm naturally, the elements 
of triple time giving just enough resistance to be overcome by a 
pleasant compromise. 

The kinds of time, i.e., of invariable rhythmic molecules under 
lying each continuous piece of music, are classed not only as 
duple and triple but also as simple and compound. Compound 
time is the result of dividing simple time by three. Division by 
two is ignored : thus the evidently highly compound time of Ex. i 
is reckoned as simple triple time. All beats are reckoned as binary 
divisions and subdivisions of the modern standard note, the semi- 
breve : the time-signature given at the beginning of a composition 
is a fraction, with a numerator showing the number of beats in 
a bar, and a denominator showing the size of the beat. Thus f 
signifies three crotchets (quarters) in a bar. Compound time does 
not indicate the main beats at all, but counts the smaller beats 
as normal fractions of the semibreve. The main beats are written 
as dotted notes, in which the dot lengthens the note by one half. 
Accordingly f is the compound time of two dotted crotchets 
divided by three quavers ; f is that of three dotted crotchets : 
V- of four. When the division by three is only local, triplets are 
used. Triplets are groups of three equal notes crowded into the 
time of two. 

Binary and ternary subdivision answers every ordinary pur 
pose of musical rhythm, being capable of expressing distinctions 
far more subtle than have ever been regulated in speech. It is 
impossible to pronounce a syllable in less than a tenth of a 
second; but it is easy to play sixteen notes in a second on the 
pianoforte. In such rapid notes a single break twice in a second 
would have an effect directly measured by the ear. If the broken 
series were levelled into an even series of fourteen notes a 
second, the rhythmic effect would be appreciably different, 
though the actual difference of pace would be only -^ of a 

The special sign for triplets is readily adapted to other sub- 


divisions. In most cases such adaptation is not meant to produce 
abstruse rhythms, but to secure an effect of free declamation. 
Freedom is as necessary in music as it is in speech; but fine play 
ing, whether in obvious tempo rubato or in apparent strictness, 
bases this freedom on the superlative accuracy of good rhythmic 

Tempo. The time-signature tells us nothing about the pace 
of the music, for the choice of the denominator is determined 
by a tangle of historic associations, so that f may mean (as in 
Beethoven s C minor Concerto) the slowest movement ever 
written, and f may be a scherzo-tempo in which only one beat 
in a bar is countable. 

The sense of tempo is a larger aspect of the body-rhythm, and 
in classical music it is very steady. A fundamental law of all 
musical rhythm is that a hurrying or slackening of tempo has no 
power to alter the rhythmic organization. If your phrase is too 
short a ritardando will not make it aesthetically any the longer; 
nor will an accelerando get rid of a redundant bar. On the con 
trary, it is crowded detail that will best profit by slackening, and 
loose-knit passages that have most to gain by an unobtrusive 
mending of the pace. 

The genuine tempo rubato is, as its name implies, a rhythmic 
robbing of Peter to pay Paul. Chopin said that his left hand 
conducted in strict time while his right declaimed freely. The 
truth is that sound is as full of illusions as sight. One such illu 
sion has already been illustrated by the grace-notes of Ex. i, and 
other illusions are of much the same kind. The tick of the 
metronome measures average time-intervals; and if it is set to 
measure a naturally rhythmic performance it will seem to hustle 
the player in some passages and to drag upon him in others, 
however carefully we select its pace. 

In the classics from Bach to Brahms a movement may give 
more legitimate scope for tempo rubato than some purists care 
to admit, but it will not drift from one tempo to a radically 
different tempo, unless towards the end, or as evidence of immi 
nent break-up. The gradual drift from one tempo to another 
first becomes something better than a weakness when the whole 
nature of musical movement becomes capable of continuity over 
hours, as in Wagnerian opera. Then, and not before, can we view 
one and the same tempo from opposite directions. - Thus, in 
Tristan und Isolde the last part of the love-duet in the second act 
is a quick movement in f time. Isolde s Liebestod ends the opera 
with an exact recapitulation of this (differing only in the voice 
part and absolutely unaltered in the orchestra) in rather slow 
f time. By metronome the two tempi should be identical, though 
the impulse in the duet is energetic and that of the Liebestod 


reposeful. Wagner merely feels that the broader notation better 
suits Isolde s dying vision ; and the listener, who may know and 
care nothing about the notation, agrees with Wagner. It is partly 
a question of accent and comes under the heading of phrasing. 
The Rhythm of Classical Music in Relation to Poetry. We 
can now return, furnished with new criteria, to the relation 
between musical and poetic rhythm. Even a simple musical set 
ting of poetry will stretch the words in ways which speech does 
not normally admit. The naive poet will unhesitatingly accept 
this as in the nature of singing. Only the half-baked musical lit 
terateur objects, when Mozart makes Ottavio sing Dalla suapace 
la mia dipende (Ex. 2) five times as slowly as any speaker could 
naturally utter the words, and then puts the top note and chief 
accent on the unimportant la. The poet would be glad to sing it 
that way if he could. It is quite good Italian prosody to give 
a nearly equal stress to la and mia : and the climax on la is more 
than counterbalanced by the fact that the important word mia 
falls on a harmonically sensitive note. The grammatical sense 
might have been clearer if a similar but slighter emphasis had 
been given to sua. But Ottavio is not giving instructions to a 
servant, but expressing his inmost feelings in solitude. Language 
does not base its emotional accents on logical analysis. Dr. John 
son corrected a clergyman for saying Thou shalt not steal* 
instead of Thou shalt not steal , If Johnson was right, how in 
the world did shall not* ever become shan t ? 



Dal - la sua pa - oe la mia di - pen 

- da 

The sensitive note on mia shows one of the four main degrees 
of freedom in musical accent. There is first the normal time- 
accent. Many critics of musical declamation seem to know no 
other forms of stress ; but it can be completely eclipsed by put 
ting the highest note of the melody elsewhere. The highest note 
can in its turn be eclipsed by the longest note. And in Ex. 2, 
both together are eclipsed by the most sensitive note. Moreover, 
and without recourse to anything so drastic as syncopation, the 
weakest note in the phrase may be given a special accent stronger 
than a main beat. This is beautifully shown in the third bar of 
Ex. i, where the accented Eb, normally quite the weakest note 
in the bar, could certainly bear the chief syllable in a sentence if 
words for Haydn s wonderful rhythm could be found at all. 
Lastly, such a displaced accent may have a double meaning, the 
note retaining its original lightness in spite of its borrowed stress. 


Weber has been blamed for his bad declamation in the following 

famous passage : 


WEBER, JDer Freisckitt^ Act III 

Trube An - gen, Liebchcn, tau - gen, ein-em hoi-den Brautchennicht 

But, by your leave, this is a triumph of musical gesture. The 
lively Aennchen might even point a playful finger at the anxious 
Agathe with each false accent that Weber so explicitly marks. 
Meanwhile the orchestra corrects the declamation in waltz- 

By the interplay of these varieties of accent the strophic song, 
with the same tune to several stanzas, condemned as lazy and 
low by our prose critics of music, becomes, as Brahrns always 
maintained, the highest achievement of a song- writer. The inter 
play does not annihilate right and wrong in declamation, nor does 
it prove that the classics are infallible; but it forms a musical 
technique as disciplined as prosody and as unlike prose. In such 
ways^ artistic factors reconcile their conflicts, and without such 
conflicts there is neither art nor life. Wagner and Wolf are per 
fect masters of a musical declamation that follows the rules of 
prose ; but when we are told that there are no other rules, and 
that the classics from Bach to Brahms merely blundered insensi 
tively, it is time to point out that musical rhythm cannot be learnt 
from a bell-metronome nor poetry from a pronouncing dic 

Let us now try a few experiments in setting blank verse to 
music. The first step will be to find a constant musical rhythm 
to represent the average line. This average rhythm will horrify 
the poetic ear if it is put forward as a specimen of blank verse, 
and probably if a line could be found that fitted it exactly, that 
line would be a very ugly one. Still, the fact remains that the 
musician s average idea of blank verse is accurately represented 
by the following scheme, which represents two lines : 

Ex. 3* 

rr f rr rrrr p|rrrc rrrrr "- 

Now read the first paragraph of Paradise Lost rigidly to this 
scheme at the rate of two syllables to a metronome-beat of 80 
to the minute. You will not satisfy the poet s ear; but you will 
find that the lines accommodate themselves better to this than 
to any other uniformity; that extra syllables can be managed by 



grace-notes, and that the interval of two quavers between each 
line is a natural part of the scheme. We can proceed thus for 
eight lines, with rheumatic pains but not complete disaster. The 
imperative Sing is a heavy word to put into anacrusis, even of 
double length, and our three main beats must override many 
accents in lines that so often have four. Also the interlinear 
pause of two beats is irksome when the sense runs on. In the 
ninth line we must alter the scheme, for no anacrusis can digest 
any part of In the beginning . So we must invert the first 
foot thus : 


J ] ] 3 J- 

In the be - gin - ning , how the HeaVns and Earth 

But before we condemn the scheme let us see how far the 
torture is mitigated by merely adding musical rise and fall: 

s Adagio 

Of Marfs first dis - o - be - di-ence and the fruit Of 

=1 iJ J* 

that for 

. bid - den tree, 

whose mor - tal 

taste Brought 

J. J^ 

death in 

P P f - 
to the world 

P P J = 
and all our 

Woe, With 

loss of 

H^ J J ] ^- 

E - den, till 

P P P= 
one great - er 

Man Re - 

r r i 

- gtore UB 

and re - gain 

the bliss - fnl 

seat Sing 

heav-en- ly Muse that on the se-cret top Of O - reb, etc. 

Blank verse has been worse recited than this. The rigid musical 
timing proves unexpectedly flexible already; and the rubato of a 
good singer can go far to improve it without becoming vulgar. 

Now let us legalize the singer s rubato, and, without altering 
the two-quaver intervals between the lines, help the enjambement 


by a pianoforte accompaniment that makes the ear expect the 
resolution of a discord. Sensitive harmonies will further aid the 
rhythmic sense. The f notation is now becoming troublesome; 
so that bars are divided into three and the lengths of the notes 
doubled. But the original f scheme is nowhere violated. 

After this point any attempt to continue this literal interpreta 
tion of the metre would make the music drag hopelessly. Already 
the first two lines would be the better for running over the pause 
and doubling the pace of that forbidden tree . But this would 
mean using two time-scales and would take us into free compo 
sition. The object of this illustration is not to show how these 
words ought to be set, nor to prove the very doubtful proposition 
that they are singable to any kind of music ; but simply to bring 
out the most elementary relations between music and verse. 

Phrasing. The higher art of phrasing is chiefly observable in 
groups of very much simpler bars than those of our illustrations 
so far. Two facts, often ignored, must be realized before we 
can understand phrasing at all. First, music, being in time and 
not in space, is never apprehended in a coup d ceil, but always in 
a momentary present connecting a remembered past with an 
imperfectly anticipated future. Consequently we miss half the 
aesthetic values of rhythm if we insist on knowing all about it 

Ex.5 . 

Andante con tnoto * - 54 cr: 3=3^ 



in-to the world and all onr Woe, 


jw J 1 7 *gj 

loss of E -den> till one great - er Man Re 

Ka, k. 




rit. - 

. a tempo 


store us and re- gain the bliss- ful seat Sing 

rit. . .... a tempo 


from the first note. Rhythms have as much right to change their 
meaning while we listen to them as the cats of Wonderland have 
to grin; and they all can and most of them do . 

The second point is that the bar represents no fundamental 
rhythmic fact. It did not come into existence so long as music 
was printed only in parts. When music began to be printed with 
all the parts ranged legibly on one page, it was necessary to score 
the pile of parts with vertical strokes to range them in partitions 
and guide the eye. Hence the word score, and the French parti 
tion and German Partitur. The nascent body-rhythm grew 
stronger and gradually made it convenient that the bars should 
coincide with the groups indicated by the time-signature, and 
this gave rise (but only in recent times) to the delusion that the 
bar was the permanent unit. It is often obviously not so. When 
Mozart writes in moderate common time his phrasing is sure to 
make an odd number of half-bars somewhere so that a theme that 
originally lay on 1, 2, 3, 4 now lies on 3, 4, 1, z. In such a case 
it is pedantic to say that the accent has changed and still more 
pedantic to blame Mozart for not either taking shorter bars 
throughout or changing to them according to the rhythm. If the 
half-bar displacement is really awkward Mozart will put it right, 
as when he rebarred the duet Bei Mannern welche Liebe fiih- 
len in Dip, Zauberflote. But long bars imply delicate accents and 
these accents become no harder when the phrasing contracts. 

Beethoven writes his scherzos, and some very powerful other 
movements, in the shortest possible bars, and it is often difficult 
to tell whether the first of such bars is a main accent or an 
anacrusis. In the first movement of the C minor Sonata (op. 10, 
no. i), when we reach bar 22 it becomes manifest that bar 9 
must have been an anacrusis ; but we cannot have noticed that at 
the time, for when theorists go back to bar i and say that that 
initial bump was an anacrusis we can only smile. In three late 
works Beethoven helps the players by the words Ritmo di tre 
battute and Ritmo di quattro battute. The most famous of these 
passages is in the scherzo of the Ninth Symphony. Why did 
Beethoven not use there f or -V 2 - bars so that his ritmo di tre bat 
tute became self-evident as a change to f ? Because if you wish 
to ride this Pegasus you must please to rise on your stirrups once 
in Beethoven s bar, and not only once in three or four. The 
change to three-bar rhythm is obvious enough ; but the return to 
four-bar is not, as Grove said, effected by the drums, but comes 
where nobody can possibly detect it. And Beethoven, having 
helped the conductor at this point, is quite content, as in earlier 
works passim, that the listeners should gradually become aware 
that the three-bar swing is no longer in being. In the trio, 
Beethoven wishing to indicate that two of its crotchets correspond 


to three of the scherzo, first wrote in f time. But this made the 
lilt as unrecognizable as the true proportions of Iceland at the 
top of a map on Mercator s projection. So he changed it to alia 
breve bars |. 

The common sense of the whole matter is that hard accents 
and soft accents are equally liable in the long run to obliterate 
the distinction between the first and the third of four beats, and 
may go far to weaken that between the first and the second. We 
shall never find that Beethoven s short bars will fit any one 
interpretation throughout a piece, nor shall we often be able to 
fix the point at which the rhythmic angle is shifted. And when 
we have fixed everything some overlap will upset us or some 
extra bar make us hold our breath. Four-bar rhythm is more 
important to music than limericks are to literature, but the 
limerick is hardly more adequate or historically qualified to be 
taken as the fundamental basis for rhythm. And we must not 
take a lofty timeless view of rhythmic inequalities and changes. 
Farmer Giles is mistaken in the idea that the lady he finds 
sketching in the woods where you cannot see round the corner 
would find a better subject on the top of a hill where you can 
see six counties. 

Older Musical Rhythms. In measuring the distance between 
the musical rhythms, the most familiar to us and those of the 
sixteenth and earlier centuries, the first thing we must dismiss is 
our strong body-rhythms. Only the lightest ballets and fa-las of 
our great madrigalists have any such element. The greater part 
of the sixteenth-century polyphony is held together by a time- 
system which merely counts semibreves and settles whether the 
semibreve is to be perfect and equal to three minims or imperfect 
and equal to two, and also whether three or only two semibreves 
are to go to a breve. The law of accent holds with pairs of 
minims about as strongly as in modern music, but it is already 
very much weakened with pairs of semibreves. Examine the first 
two lines of Palestrina s Stabat Mater, which is as wonderful in 
rhythm as it is in harmony. 


Chorus I Chorus U 

Sta-bat Ma-ter do-lo- ro - sa Jux- ta cru-cero la -cry- mo - 8% 

The music of the second line is identical with that of the first, 
and both lines are an exact quantitative rendering of the verses, 
with longs twice the size of shorts. The time signature tells us 
that the breve contains two semibreves and the semibreve two 


minims. Accordingly the modern editor draws bar-strokes at 
regular breve-distances throughout the score. Then comes the 
modern choirmaster, warm from a rehearsal of * Be not afraid 
in Elijah, and beats four in a bar, down, left, right, up, while the 
dutiful double choir sings : 


Ma-ter do 
la 3 4 

(sniff) lo ro 
I 2 34 

Sa jux 
la 34 

Ta era 
12 34 

Cem la (sniff) cry 

Mo sa 
1* 34 

But now let each singer, at a starting signal from the conduc 
tor, merely move one finger regularly up and down in minims, 
downwards for accented beats and upwards for unaccented. It 
will then be found perfectly easy to override these gentle accents 
whenever the sense dictates, and the choir will find itself de 
claiming the words beautifully. 

Io <y o o 
Ma-ter do- lo 

o o 

ro- sa 

o o 



o d o J 

cru-cem la -cry 


-I mo - sa 

I*l2llftll3l8l 21 31 2 

Ex. 6a 

o o 

1 91 8 1 31 

If bars must be drawn let them come only where there is a 
normal accent. We must not put a bar-line after mater, because 
this would come in the middle of a semlbreve, or, as Morley 
calls it, a stroke. The examples of Victoria and Josquin given 
in the articles MASS, MOTET, and MUSIC are barred freely by these 
rules, but no such single scoring is adequate for an elaborate 
polyphony. Ex. 7 gives a passage from Victoria s <7 quam glorio- 
sum in full score barred so as to display what cannot be shown 
in the short score given with MOTET. 

From this we can see Victoria s Miltonic art of finishing a big 
paragraph. The lower voices enjoy their own rhythms until the 
slow swing of the soprano draws the bass along with it. Then 
the alto joins, and the tenor is compelled to regard his own 
rhythm as a syncopation against this majority. 

Little has been said so far about syncopation, and little now 
remains to be said. Its main point, even in the sixteenth century, 
as Ex. 7 shows, is that it requires a strong body-rhythm to 
contradict. A common fallacy of self-centred composers is to 
write syncopations that never encounter opposition at all. We 
must not confuse this with the legitimate case of a rhythm the 
meaning of which first appears later in the course of the music, 
nor with the case of an intentional vagueness. Nor, to return to 



the sixteenth century, must we put the unanimous speech-rhythm 
syncopations of Ex. 6 into the same category as those of the tenor 
at the end of Ex. 7. 

Ex * 7 VICTORIA, O guam gloriosum 

gau - - - dent, gau - - - dent om - 

dentigau < 

A , gvejowc 

dent,gau . dent om-nes sane- 

- dent,gau - 

- dent sane - 


- dent, gau 

dentjgau-dent om - 

J s 




- - ti, 

om - 


sane - 






t| ,9, C*. 

om - 



sane - 


, w 


ti om - ncs sane 






inc - - - ti, om - nes sane- 

Triple time in the sixteenth century was very different from 
what it is in music with a strong body-rhythm. For one thin? 
it continually obliterates the difference between 2-3 and 3-^2 
as in Example 8 by Lasso. 


2nd Choir 


This swing from 3 to a 3 twice as slow is called hemiole and 
survives as late as Bach and Handel. Thus, in the first chorus 
of the Messiah the hemiole which Handel always uses in triple- 
time closes gives the cadential accentuation : 



r r r r r 

Lord shall be re - veal 



The opposite swing from f to with a curious bump in the last 
(|) bar, characterizes the French courantes of Ccuperin and 

Before Palestrina we find in England a fairly steady slow triple 
time (3 divided by 2 or 4) in Talk s ; but a little ear ier we find 
Obrecht writing music which abounded in amazing complexi 
ties, such as three depths of triple rhythm: 


The complexity is illusory, for the ear makes nothing of it, and 
the same is the case with the capacity of the ancient time-system 
of mode, time, and prolation to multiply triple rhythms up to 
twenty-seven beats. The fact that the process was by multiplica 
tion shows at once that no real rhythmic effects are concerned, 
and that the system is only a device by which the long-suffering 
tenors may count out the enormous notes of some unrecognizable 
canto fermo. If we want genuine highly compound times we 
must leave these multiplication tables and study the last move 
ment of Beethoven s Sonata, op. in, where the theme and first 
variation are in triple time divided by 3 (YQ) ; the second variation 
divides the half-beat by 3, producing -|f (which Beethoven mis 
names T&); the third variation divides the quarter-beats, pro 
ducing ff (misnamed -) ; and the fourth variation returns to -f 
time and divides it by a uniform triplet vibration of twenty-seven 
notes to a bar, afterwards surmounted by the unmeasured vibra 
tion of a trill. All this is sublime in its cogent clearness. 

Genuine complexity was achieved by Palestrina in the second 
Kyrie of his Mass Uhomme arme\ a work as beautiful as it 
is ingenious. But Mozart achieved something unsurpassed in the 
ballroom scene in Don Giovanni, putting his vigorous body- 
rhythms to the supreme test of making the characters actually 
dance and pass remarks in them. (See Ex. 9, overleaf.) 

Recent Rhythmic Developments. Rhythms other than binary 
and ternary cannot develop a very strong ictus, though Hoist 
manages in the ballet of The Perfect Fool to make some good 

Ex. 9 


Alia tedesca 

MOZART, Don Giovanni 


Centre da use 


^J LJ^ 

., Meniiftto 



dance-rhythms of |. But they tend to flow like speech-rhythms, 
and they are very reluctant to change their pattern. A rhythm 
of 5 falls into either 3+2 or 2+3. The famous 5-time move 
ment in Tchaikovsky s Pathetic Symphony is 2+3 and is in 
absolutely square eight-bar rhythm throughout. Again y-time 
will be some form of 4 and 3, or will suggest 8 with a beat 
clipped. Ravel in his Pianoforte Trio, showed that it is possible 
to divide 8 into 3 -{-2+3 so inveterately that no listener can pos 
sibly hear it as 4+4. The effect is excellent, and other versions 
of it are used in a much quicker tempo and with more variety by 
Hoist in his Fugal Overture. But we must call things by their 
right names and not say that a thing is complex when it clings 
like grim death to its one pattern and falls into phrases of 2+2. 
for pages together. The Pantoum of Ravel s Trio blends an 
impish | with a sanctimonious j very amusingly. An early piano 
forte sonata by Cyril Scott attempts to get away from all regu- 


larities. Its thirteens and threes do not always succeed in avoid 
ing straightening out into plain 16=4x4; and when successful 
are conscientious rather than impulsive. The rhythms of Greek 
tragedy, interpreted syllabically, are suggestive, and so are many 
oriental rhythms. But they are not body-rhythms; and it may 
be doubted whether any great increase in variety of strong body- 
rhythms is imminent at present. 


RONDO, a musical form originally derived from the rondel in 
verse; as may be seen, long before the development of instru 
mental forms, in some of the chansons of Orlando di Lasso. The 
rondeau en couplets of Couperin and his contemporaries shows 
the same connexion with verse. It consists of a single neatly 
rounded phrase alternating with several episodes (the couplets) 
without any important change of key. Ex. i shows Bach s hand 
ling of this early form. The later rondo is an important member 
of the sonata forms (q.v.), chiefly found in finales; but rondo 
form sometimes occurs in slow movements. Ex. 2 is not more 
elaborate than the Adagio of Beethoven s Fourth Symphony. 
Philipp Emanuel Bach invented an extraordinary kind of rondo, 
not part of a sonata, but on a voluminous scale with wildly 
incoherent episodes and modulations. (See pp. 194-9.) 

The later sonata-style rondo forms may be divided into two 
main classes : 

1. Sectional rondo, i.e. with little or no development or tran 
sition between the episodes and the main theme; very charac 
teristic of Haydn, who, however, may run away with it in 
unexpected developments. The name rondo implies at least 
two episodes, and a sectional rondo may have more. Beethoven 
in his early works shows the influence of Haydn in this type of 
rondo; e.g. the finales of Sonatas, opp. 10, no. 3, and 14, nos. 
i and 2 ; and the slow movements of the Sonatas, opp. 2, no. 2, 
and 13 (Pathetique). The sectional rondo last appears on a gigan 
tic scale in the finale of Brahms s G minor Pianoforte Quartet, 
op. 25 ; and it lends itself, like the cognate idea of a dance with 
several trios , to Schumann s pianoforte pieces and to some of 
his finales. 

2. Rondos influenced by the form of a first movement (for which 
see SONATA FORMS). In the normal scheme for this, which is 
Mozart s favourite rondo form, the rondo-theme (which may 
contain several clauses) is followed by a well-organized transition 
to the key of the first episode, which key is chosen as if for the 
complementary key of a first movement. The return to the 
rondo-theme may be elaborate or abrupt, and the theme itself 
may be reduced to its first complete clause (but not to a mere 
fragment, without loss of the rondo effect). The second episode 
will be in a new key and may be followed by wide modulations, 
or itself be widely modulatory, or it may even be entirely a 
development of the previous material, as in the rondo of Beetho 
ven s Sonata, op. 90, given on p. 196. When the rondo-theme 


RONDO 193 

returns again it is followed by a recapitulation of the first episode 
(perhaps preceded by the transitional passage suitably modified) 
in the tonic; after which the coda may contain a final return of 
the rondo-theme. When the second episode is concentrated on 
development the only difference between the rondo and a first 
movement is the slender fact that the whole first theme returns 
immediately after the first episode. Yet the rondo style can be 
recognized from the outset by the tunelike character of the main 
theme, and also by the fact that, unlike the most tuneful open 
ings of first movements, it comes to a definite close instead of 
swinging continuously into the transition passage. A rondo with 
a development in its middle episode may return to the tonic with 
an immediate recapitulation of the first episode, omitting the 
expected second return of the main theme, thus: A, B (new 
key), A, C (development), B (tonic), A, Coda (where A is the 
rondo-theme and B and C the episodes). Mozart, Schubert, and 
Brahms have a form, always worked on a very large scale, which 
consists only of A, B (new key), A, B (tonic), Coda; where a 
certain amount of development is edged in apropos of the tran 
sition-passage on its recapitulation. Only the style of the main 
theme can distinguish this from a first movement that omits its 
normal development-section. 

In the rondos of classical concertos (q.v.) the orchestra (espe 
cially in Mozart) finds its opportunity in a series of accessory 
themes announced as soon as the solo instrument has given out 
the rondo-theme. These accessories are then held in reserve for 
the coda. 

Two examples of rondo forms are given on the following pages. 

*94 SONDO 

Gavotte en Rondeau (Rondeau en Couplets) from Bach s Sixth Violin Solo 



j rrn 

^p ". . P 
j p 

Couplet II 

Dal -X* e poi 



Dal -% e poi 



Couplet III 


r IT f 15 y [I pT j P 


J LJ J i J J * J 

Dal *% e Fine 

196 RONDO 

Ex.2 Outline of Son&tarform Rondo with developing middle episode. 

oo and indicate prevalent movement of accompaniment. Blank bars indicate prero- 

bf > lence of the same chord. 

Nichl zu geschwind und sehr singbar vorzutragea 
Main Theme 


Bars 9-15 
gva higher 

Bars 1-8, with orna 
mental variation in 
bars 4-6 


I Second Theme (1st Episode) indominant 




imitative 2 part 



Cadence them* 

returning to tonio 

First Return 



l] j li ||lTjJ J 

C minor Enharmonic Circle D!> c| minor 

" HI * 

d major 

J L -Itr 



Dominant of S 

a j TV,.. Digression before Coda 
r e ecapi?ulaSd <5ff = A Enharmonic change Creal, not circular) 

] Bars 40-67 
in tonic 

Third Return and Coda 

[23ol Bars I- 4 in tenor j 5-8 in treble; 
9-16 in tenor: 
17-30 in treble 



j j M ; 

Dominant pedal 

J J K 



Final summa ry of mai n theme 





y riJ i^ 

a 1 diminished 


SCHERZO (Italian for a joke ); a quick movement evolved from 
the minuet and used in the position thereof in the sonata forms 
(q.v.). The term is also used as a mere character name. Haydn 
first used it, and its adverb scherzando, for the middle movement 
of an early sonata in C sharp minor, and afterwards in place of 
the minuet in the set of six quartets known sometimes as Gli 
Scherzi , and sometimes as the Russian Quartets (op. 33). He 
never used the term again, though his later minuets are often in 
a very rapid tempo and sometimes on a larger scale than any of 
the earlier scherzos of Beethoven. Haydn wished to see the 
minuet made more worthy of its position in large sonata works ; 
but he did not live to appreciate (though he might possibly have 
heard) the fully- developed scherzos of his pupil, Beethoven. 

The formal essence of the minuet and trio lies in thejr combi 
nation of melodic forms with an exact da capo of the minuet 
after the trio. No other movement in the sonata has leisure for 
so purely decorative a symmetry. Beethoven s typical scherzos 
purposely exaggerate this quality. He does not follow Mozart s 
example of minuets with two trios, for the style of his mature 
scherzos is so continuous that a second trio would give it an 
elaborate rondo character unlike that of a dance-movement. But 
after Beethoven s scherzo has run through the stages of scherzo, 
trio, and scherzo da capo, it goes through the same trio and da 
capo again ; and then tries to do so a third time, as if it could not 
find a way out, so that it has to be abruptly stopped. Modern 
players and listeners are impatient of these grotesque repetitions; 
but the art-form is true to its own nature, and we should be 
the better for leisure to understand it. Apart from the wonderful 
little A flat Bagatelle No. 7 of the set written at the age of 15 
and published (presumably with extensive revision) as op. 33 
Beethoven first used the double repetition in his Fourth Sym 
phony (with a shortening of the last da capo) ; and his last example 
is in the C sharp minor Quartet (op. 131). An outline of the 
Scherzo of Beethoven s Seventh Symphony is given on pp. 202-6. 

The scherzo of the Ninth Symphony is so enormous that its 
main body differs from a complete first movement of a sonata 
only in its uniformity of texture and its incessant onrush, which 
not even the startling measured pauses and the changes from 
four-bar to three-bar rhythm can really interrupt. Beethoven 
directs as many repetitions of its subsections as possible, and his 
coda consists of an attempt to begin the trio again, dramatically 
cut short. The scherzo of the C minor Symphony was originally 


meant to go twice round; and a certain pair of superfluous bars, 
which caused controversy for thirty years after Beethoven s 
death, were due simply to traces of the difference between the 
prima wlta and seconda volta being left in the score. 

Beethoven does not use the title of scherzo unless the music 
is humorous. Thus in the Sonata in E flat (op. 31, no. 3) it is 
applied to a lively sonata-form movement which is technically 
the slow movement, while the following slow minuet is the dance- 
movement. The second movement of the F major Quartet (op. 
59, no. i) is a unique example of scherzo style in a most elaborate 
sonata form. 

Perhaps this gigantic movement may have been the inspiring 
source of the Mendelssohnian scherzo, one of the most distinct 
new types of movement since Beethoven, and quite independent 
of the notion of an alternating trio. The scherzos in Mendels 
sohn s Midsummer Night s Dream music, in the * Scotch Sym 
phony, and in the String Quartets in E minor and E flat major 
(op. 44, nos. 2 and 3) are splendid examples. Even Berlioz 
shows their influence in the ( Queen Mab Scherzo of his Romeo 
et Juliette. 

Of Brahms s scherzos there are several distinct types, ranging 
from a quiet allegretto and trio in melodic forms to the sonata- 
form Presto giocoso of the Fourth Symphony, which within seven 
minutes accomplishes the most powerful scherzo since Beetho 
ven. Every degree of lyric beauty and dramatic passion is 
comprised in the various movements that Brahms puts into the 
position of scherzo in his sonata works. 

Chopin produced a new type of independent scherzo ; obviously 
inspired by Beethoven, but with a slightly macabre tendency of 
his own, except in the very diffuse and light Fourth Scherzo. 
The majority of classical scherzos are in a quick triple time with 
only one countable beat to a bar; and this custom is the last 
vestige of the derivation of the scherzo from the minuet. 

Of modern scherzos there is nothing specific to be said; the 
term still applies to lively intermediate movements in cyclic 
instrumental works, and is otherwise a mere character-name. 



Outline of SCHERZO of Beethoven s Seventh Symphony 

(Th phrasing given here is the most natural^ but any phrasing- whatever will prove 
that the themes change their accents in the course of the movement.) 

Presto I 1 

I I* 

8 4 I I 1 2 

1 r ir r r i* a 

r M 

I 1 2 

i i i i I 



"T ; 1L I . I I T^ J^i 

I i a B3 a 4 i | i 

I 1 Overlap TT 2 


u* < t 

rif fiffrif f 

| 1 BI8 

4 | 1 2 8 4 
/ fssl 

,f> iff 

2 3 



* [so] 2 3 4 

Z 3 


2 RSI 8 4 

Entry of theme with 
reverted accent* 



J J J, I 

I 2 341 

L r 7> I 



J J j 

Aj. JJ .iJ.-U 

15. * I 

[iool I 

j J ^ ij?- rr^ 

f f f 

r r r 

* sf i r^T 2 

I J J | | I ^2 3 f 

PL i i i ij i 1/^1 kg x a if r i 

fc j j j ij j if r up f i 1 i i 

ft] ~~ ^ -^ > I ^-~ I --, 

/ y 

IL i . L^ rtl 

" JJ 

Cr " c 4 

r r i r 

r i i 1 i 

II r I H t= 

| 13 3 > 4 | 


S 1 3 4 



[ Overlap 

I T 

J Ijr Jl? [ I I 


.. , s ._. 

IT I 7[ *y /. /. A 

_ . . . _ 

J ima volta. 


I I 


(TRIO) Assai tneno presto 

|T] pdolct 


repeated with new 




cresc. ... 




to Scherzo Da Capo. 

The first part (bars 1-24) 
repeated pp, and the pjo maintained till the croc, at bar 74. Trio Da Capo also: 
then Scherzo Da Capo atfdn leading oaoe more to trfo, which is cut short ia the 
following Coda. 



T 7 !!! 


SONATA, originally a piece played , as opposed to cantata*, a 
piece sung . By the time of Corelli the term had come to mean 
a group of instrumental movements. (A movement is a piece of 
music forming, or starting as if to form, a complete musical 
design.) The sonatas of Corelli are classified as sonata da chiesa 
(Church sonata) and sonata da camera (chamber sonata). Both 
kinds were usually for one or two violins with continue bass (see 
CHAMBER MUSIC and INSTRUMENTATION). Handel, when a boy, 
wrote six for two oboes, and in later years several for flute, and 
also for one oboe. 

The sonata da chiesa consists typically of a slow introduction, 
a loosely fugal allegro, a cantabile slow movement, and a lively 
finale in melodic binary* form (see SONATA FORMS). The sonata 
da camera consists mainly of dance-tunes (see SUITE). Bach, who 
uses neither title, keeps the two kinds unmixed in his six sonatas 
for violin alone, the first, third, and fifth being sonate da chiesa 
and the others partitas. A fusion of the two styles persisted in 
Italian violin music almost to the end of the eighteenth century. 

The sonatas of Domenico Scarlatti are small harpsichord pieces 
of which the best known are extremely brilliant single movements 
in binary form. The complete collection of five hundred and 
forty-five, published by Longo, shows that Scarlatti experimented 
audaciously in remote modulations; that he also wrote some 
orthodox violin sonatas; and that he sometimes followed a lively 
movement by a slow cantabile, as Paradies did in his sonatas, 
dementi s early sonatas are at their best when they resemble a 
sober and heavy-handed Scarlatti in a first movement which 
maintains a uniform rush of rapid motion ; and Mozart has left 
a fine example of the kind in the first movement of his F major 
Violin Sonata (K.377). 

The main classical sense of the term indicates a work for not 
more than two instruments, containing at least two and in the 
complete scheme four well-contrasted movements, of which the 
first and last are on the same tonic, and the others in demon- 
strably related keys (see HARMONY, sec. v); the forms being those 
dealt with in the following article. 



SONATA FORMS cover the whole ground of instrumental music 
from C. P. E. Bach to the advent of Schumann s pianoforte lyrics 
and Liszt s symphonic poems, and are still living forms. Their 
rise made Gluck s reform of opera possible ; for they represent a 
general change in the language of music which made it a truly 
dramatic medium. They comprise the largest and most central 
problems of pure music; and the outward forms must be studied 
in constant connexion with instrumentation, harmony, melody, 
counterpoint, and rhythm (qq.v.). 

Elements of Form. Two types of form are externally common 
to the true dramatic sonata style and the earlier melodic forms 
used in the suite (q.v.). The terms binary and * ternary have 
been chosen for these; and, as we shall see, badly chosen. A 
binary melody falls into two portions, of which the first ends 
away from tonic, and the second ends on the tonic. Barbara 
Allen, quoted in the article MELODY, is an exquisite example on 
the smallest possible scale. A ternary melody, such as The 
Bluebell of Scotland , has a complete first clause, a second 
clause not as complete, and a third clause consisting of the first 
over again ; a form conveniently symbolized as ABA. 

No view of music can be correct that neglects the fact that it 
moves in time; though a composer may develop Mozart s 
capacity for seeing music spatially, Le. like a picture, all at once. 
Now, when do we know that a melody is going to be ternary ? 
Obviously when its first clause has shown itself to be complete. 
If the sequel refuses to divide itself according to a ternary 
rule, the ear is not going to reverse its judgements merely because 
we have chosen a bad term of classification. After the first clause, 
anything may happen. The rest of the tune may be no longer 
than the first clause. All that we can expect of it is that it will 
cover a wider ground than the first clause, even if in fewer notes 
or in less time. But this is not all. Every tune of several clauses 
lends itself to repeating its sections. Binary tunes repeat their 
two sections. Does a ternary tune repeat its three sections ? Try 
the experiment on the very typical ternary theme of the varia 
tions in Beethoven s Kreutzer* Sonata. Play the first clause 
with its repeat and try repeating the second clause before return 
ing to the first. You will hardly have the patience to finish the 
experiment. It will at once reveal that under the test of repeats 
our ternary melody is not ABA, but A, BA. 

Thus, while both these forms divide only into two repeatable 
portions, the one named binary has an incomplete first part 




BEETHOVEN, l Ktfuff^ScKata 


P^ if 

^ . 


j^j J) IJ J J J ItfJ ^fc 
^ *p ^ 

~v? " 

___y 1 j j j j 1 *^ JL! . 


da capo 

while the first part of the other is complete. Our pundits would 
make musical terminology less misleading if they would kindly 
find Greek or Latin names, not longer than the forms themselves, 
that should express form-with-an-incomplete-first-part on the 
one hand, and fonn-with-a-complete-first-part* on the other. 
Clearly the distinction is that between higher organizations and 
lower, or sectional, forms. From the so-called binary form origi 
nates the sonata form par excellence, that of the first movement 
of a sonata. From the so-called ternary form originate all those 
sectional forms of music that begin with a complete symmetrical 
melody, however many sections the form may eventually de 
velop. Thus the * ternary * type underlies the rondo (q.v.). 

The Sonata Style. Sonata form represents a style that is 
evident in every bar from the outset, however its themes may be 
distributed. We are told that the binary form of a dance-move 
ment in a suite has a polyphonic texture and a single theme ; and 
that Philipp Emanuel Bach created the true sonata form by 
inventing the second subject*. Good teachers make sure that 
their pupils understand that the subject* of a sonata is not a 
single theme, like the subject of a fugue ; but in spite of all pre 
cautions a host of bad musical forms and crooked musical doc 
trines have grown up from the provincial fact that English 
musicians have fastened on the terms first subject and second 
subject instead of translating the excellent German terms Haupt- 
satz (principal member) and Sdtensatz (subordinate member). 


Some of Sebastian Bach s most typical gigues have at least two 
distinct themes, while more than one of Haydn s ripest sonata 
movements derive everything from their first themes. Accord 
ingly we may illustrate the true distinction of style by examples 
which refute superficial doctrines. 

The two following examples are almost exactly the same length, 
yet Haydn is beyond Bach s scope in the first eight bars. If 
Bach could have accepted so trite a theme as Haydn s, he would 
have postulated that it did not end with a bump : and bars 5-8 
would have horrified him, for he would have supposed that a 
movement that began so vulgarly was condemned to continue in 
the same style. Bar 8, however, enters on matters that Bach had 
never known. In it the first bar of a new period overlaps with the 
last bar of the old ; and therewith we are plunged into a poly 
phony quite lively enough for Bach, and quite unpredictable in 
rhythm and key, its fourth bar overlapping with the answer in 
A minor, and the viola and violoncello entering in F major at 
intervals of two bars. Then, arising from bar 18, there are four 
bars on the dominant of F, with that merely jingling figure (c). 
We need not set limits to Bach s intelligence, and we may sup 
pose that such a composition would have convinced him that 
here was no trivial divertissement, as he called the non-polyphonic 
sonatas that were becoming fashionable in 1745, but a new art 
with enormous possibilities. 

Bars 23-26 transform the two notes of (a) into rich sustained 
harmonies. Then figure (b) bursts out in a new type of phrase, 
built up in three-bar periods, which the ear need not trouble to 
recognize as such in the general bustle. The third of these periods 
abandons the figure and makes a melodious close into five bars of 
cadence on figure (b) with upper notes that merge into (c), nicely 
phrased. It is idle to say that all this has more than one theme, 
and worse than idle to deny that Bach s gigue has at least two 
distinct themes. But Bach s relatively uniform texture will 
tolerate neither interruption nor irregularity of rhythm. 

Haydn s exposition groups itself clearly into bars 1-8, the 
first group (Hauptsatz), asserting the tonic and overlapping 
with bars 8-22, which effect the transition (plus the sustained 
chords 23-26) to the second group (Seitensatz) in F major, bars 
27-40, with its cadence-phrase (Schlussgruppe) in bars 36-40. 
These sections could not be more distinct with any number of 

There are no rules whatever for the number or distribution of 
themes in sonata form. When critics tell us that Mendelssohn 
is weak in second subjects, where the human element is re 
quired *, they disqualify themselves by a terminology as useless 
as that of the friend who did not see where the painter was going 

Ex.2 Bach. Gigue from 3rd Suite for Violoncello 



Ex.3 Exposition in sonata style 

HAYDN. String Quartet, Op.42 
(c) . 



nd Violin 


Ud LJ "r=ff 

to put his brown tree. Any generalized criticism of sonata themes 
is bound to be nonsense ; for themes stand in endless variety of 
relation to the whole. They are details, which give pleasure in 
themselves as well as in their relation to the scheme. But it is 
foolish and vexatious to lay down rules as to what pleasure the 
details shall give. If you examine frescoes with a microscope or 
miniatures with a telescope you will not enjoy them; and if you 
expect Beethoven s Harp* Quartet to show you the purport of 
its first movement in its themes you might as well try to study 
foreign poetry through a traveller s phrase-book. 

So much, then, for the vital element of drama in the sonata 
Historically it originates wholly with Haydn and Mozart; and 
Philipp Emanuel Bach contributed to it nothing but a romantic 
rhetoric. His chief pride was In his invention of Sonaten ndt 
verdnderten Reprtsen; that is to say sonatas in which the repeats] 
were written out in full in order to control the fashion of altering 
and amplifying the ornaments on repetition. Now, could any 
thing more clearly betray a non-dramatic style ? The survival of 
repeats in the most dramatic works of Beethoven and Brahms 
shows how powerfully an architectural symmetry can dominate 


a series of emotional tensions: but imagination boggles at the 
thought of using these repeats to display a new set of orna 

Haydn saw that the only place for C. P. E. Bach s device was 
in purely lyric slow movements. Even there he never had the 
patience to plod and pose (as C. P. E. Bach did to the bitter end) 
y through a repetition of both parts. When his second part comes 
to recapitulate the second group it combines both versions. This 
form appears for the last time in history in one of Haydn s 
London Symphonies, in the wonderful movement of which the 
theme is quoted in RHYTHM, Ex. i. Though binary , it is mani 
festly lyric, and could no more be applied to active movements 
than the Spenserian stanza could be applied to drama. 
\i A more important step toward the true sonata style was made 
by Philipp EmanuePs less romantic brother, Johann Christian, 
who settled in London, founded the Bach and Abel Concerts, 
and had a great influence on the boy Mozart. J. C. Bach is the 
first composer to lay a dramatic emphasis on the transition be- 
otween his first and his second group. In crude or deliberately 
formal examples this has been wittily described as presenting 
arms to the new key. Its point is not that there is any difficulty 
in apprehending the new key, but that the move into it is drama 
tic and not decorative. Whether the move be made with intel 
lectual music or with common forms makes no difference. 
Beethoven preferred, in his most characteristic early works, to 
disguise it cleverly. In later works he acquired the grand formal 
breadth of Mozart s chamber music in this transition. 

First-movement Form. The general scheme of the first-move 
ment form or, par excellence, sonata form is as follows. There 
is a first group in the tonic, followed by a transition to another 
key, where there is a second group that usually ends with a neat 
little cadence-theme. These groups constitute the exposition, 
which may be repeated. Then follows the development, the 
function of which is to put the previous materials into new lights, 
regrouping the figures into new types of phrase, modulating 
freely, and settling, if at all, only in new keys. Eventually a return 
is made to the tonic, and so to the recapitulation. This recapitu- 
tates the exposition, but it gives the second group in the 
Ionic, and so completes the design. The development and 
recapitulation may be repeated ; a coda may follow the recapit 

This account has required so many words that the illusion is 
apt to arise that it conveys more information than, say, the 
statement that the plan of a cathedral is cruciform, and that the 
arms of the cross are called transepts, and so on. It gives us no 
means of distinguishing an ambling decorative movement by 


Boccherini from the first movement of a Beethoven symphony ; 
and the description of the development is the only point which 
would rule out the sequel of our second example as a specimen of 
sonata form. Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven differ widely in 
their handling of every part of the scheme. 

The most regular form is to be found in Mozart, whose tran 
sitions are always broad and smooth. The effect of presenting 
arms is evident only in small or perfunctory works; and if it 
is found at all in larger works it is on such a scale and with such 
a purpose as Beethoven would give it. The second group con 
tains at least one definite new theme and a number of cadence- 
phrases in various rhythms. The development is short, consist 
ing of one broad sequential process that leads through a wide 
range of keys back to the tonic. Sometimes it contains an entirely 
new theme. Such an episode, which is generally placed at the 
beginning, by no means always indicates a lighter style and tex 
ture. It may be a relief from unusually concentrated figure-work 
in the exposition ; and the developments of two of Mozart s most 
serious works (the C minor Serenade for eight wind instruments, 
better known as a string quintet, and the G minor Pianoforte 
Quartet) are episodic. The return to the tonic always has the 
effect of being accurately timed after a delightful period of 

The recapitulation is full and has a deceptive appearance of 
regularity. In reality it is anything but mechanical. It has just 
that kind of difference by which stereoscopic pictures produce 
the effect of binocular vision. In the light of the recapitulation 
the listener finds that those points which were superficial in the 
exposition have now become solid. The composer instinctively 
conceives his exposition in relation to the question How will 
this sound when it returns? The minimum change happens 
automatically with the transition to the second group, for this 
transition must no longer lead to the complementary key of the 
exposition. One quaint primitive device in the transition is that 
of making it not leave the tonic at all but simply come to a pause 
on (but not in) the dominant. This dominant is then taken 
literally as a key. In such a case the recapitulation need alter 
nothing; the second group merely follows in the tonic instead of 
in the dominant. Even this automatic device makes the recapitu 
lation give a more solid impression than the exposition ; ^fpr the 
pause on the dominant, treated paradoxically in the exposition, is 
now treated rationally. 

We need not deny that formal devices are apt to become 
mechanical; but we have no right to the a priori opinion that 
Mozart is writing unimaginatively every time that he decides that 
the most familiar course is the wittiest. It is much wiser to 



regard the most exact recapitulation as the extreme case of deli 
cate balance, and even in the most exact the crucial detail will 
appear Here is a case in a difference of a single bar; Mozart s 
String Quartet in E flat (K. 4 28) has the following clause in the 
first theme: 


Allegro, ma non troppo 

In the recapitulation you have this: 

The little comment of the second violin is expanded and made 
to turn the following added sixth chord into a momentarily 
solid supertonic key. Similar points make the recapitulation of 
the second group also stand out in higher relief. Most interesting 
of all are the ways in which Mozart in a minor movement trans 
lates the second group from the major into the minor mode. It 
is worth while trying the experiment of literal translation (not 
always an easy task) and then seeing what Mozart has done in 
such cases. For codas Mozart either finds a slight expansion in 
the recapitulation of his second group adequate, or else he adds 
a neat final paragraph. If the development contained an episode 
Mozart s coda may allude to it. In the finale of the so-called 


Jupiter Symphony he uses the coda for his quintuple counter 
point on all the five themes of the movement. (See COUNTER 

Haydn s practice in his later works differs from Mozart s in 
almost every particular. His second group often contains no new 
theme until the cadence-group at the end; his development is 
long and divisible into several stages, often including an illusory 
early return to the main theme in the tonic followed by a new 
excursion into remote regions ; and as to recapitulation, the term 
is seldom applicable at all. The first theme, indeed, returns, but 
it is followed by a brilliant peroration full of new developments 
and giving the repose of recapitulation only in the fact that it 
remains firmly in the tonic. If after such a peroration Haydn 
chooses to end quietly and abruptly with his cadence-theme, the 
effect is witty. But it does not make him a formalist. He is a 
master not only of form but of spaciousness in the smallest pos 
sible compass. One main theme for both groups gives him more 
room for expansion than two; and instead of saying that his 
recapitulations are free we ought to say that he invented the 
most brilliant type of Beethoven s coda. And these features of 
his form are not, as has sometimes been alleged, primitive. They 
are only partially visible in quartets before op. 50, Then they 
appear in full vigour, and Haydn s admiration for Mozart only 
confirms him in his independence. 

Mozart s more symmetrical form is a function of two things, 
a more polyphonic style and a larger scale. We may sum up the 
relation between Mozart s form and Haydn s thus: that in Haydn 
we are aware of an expansive freedom which proves, on scrutiny, 
to have an all-pervading sense of proportion ; while in Mozart we 
are aware of beautiful and symmetrical proportions which prove 
on scrutiny to be handled with an all-pervading freedom. 

Beethoven combined the forms of Haydn and Mozart, writing 
on a scale large enough to contain Mozart s regular recapitula 
tions together with Haydn s free perorations, and developing a 
tragic power all his own. Such new power was not to be obtained 
without a new technique. A passage from Haydn and one from 
Beethoven may be chosen to show how Beethoven set to work. 
In the first movement of Haydn s A major Quartet (op. 20, 
no. 6) the second group has been duly ushered in by a highly- 
organized transition passage and has already started a new theme. 
This, however, comes to a pause on the dominant, and then we 
have the following modulating themes Ex. 6. 




HAYDN. String Quartet, op. 20, No. 2 

Allegro di molto c scherzando 

The harmonic colour of these keys is delightful, and their mutual 
relations are of direct importance. The passage is irnprovisa- 
torial and ruminating. Its modulations are within the local range 
of its start in E minor, and its windings only confirm the drift 
towards E major. Without them the passage would lose its free 
dom : with wider modulations it would lose coherence. 

Now take the opening of the second group in the first move 
ment of Beethoven s Sonata, op. 2, no. 2. Here is its skeleton 


2I 9 


Allegro vivace 

Ira jriai^ j />F^ 

To analyse the enharmonic modulations and keys of this 
passage is, in Kingsley s admirable parable, like making an 
exhaustive chemical analysis of a plum-pudding and omitting 
to ascertain that the cook had boiled it in a cloth. The gist of 
the matter is the steadily rising bass, with its accelerated later 
steps, and the profound psychology of its pause for eight bars 
(after the quotation) before plunging into the final cadential 
steps G#, A, and B, in widely different octaves. This is one of 
the epoch-making passages in musical history. Its importance 
does not lie in its wonderful enharmonic modulations. These 
could not in themselves have achieved more than had been 
already achieved by C. P. E. Bach: for without the rising bass 
their purpose would be merely to astonish and not to construct. 
But with the rising bass and similar resources the whole art of 
tonality expands. This soon enabled Beethoven to choose 
remoter keys for his second group. (See HARMONY, sec. v.) 

Ex. 8 gives the outline of the first movement of Beethoven s 
Eroica Symphony. Blank bars indicate the continuance of a 
harmony. They are often without theme, and are the lungs of 
the organism. Quaver-bars or other rhythmic indications above 
the line indicate the prevalent movement in accessory parts, 
whether contrapuntal or homophonic. Fine detail is not indi 
cated, and short passages marked as repeated may be assumed to 
be rescored often beyond recogaition. The outline, however, 


gives a comprehensive summary of the structure of this highly 
significant movement, and by means of it the reader will be 
enabled to apprehend, almost at a glance, the inexhaustible ex 
pansive and contractile power of Beethoven s phrase-rhythm. 
Nine conductors out of ten overlook the first theme of the second 
group entirely, but it is the one constant element in all Beet 
hoven s dozens of sketches. 

Freedom in a recognizable recapitulation can go no further 
than the marvellous modulations with which Beethoven trans 
forms the first group ; and anybody inclined to cavil at the exact 
recapitulation of no less than one hundred bars comprising the 
transition and second group may be surprised to learn that this 
is, by the clock, precisely the same length as Isolde s Liebestod 
(see RHYTHM), and that in the Liebestod Wagner exactly recapitu 
lates, -without transposition, the last movement of the love-duet 
in a previous act. Recapitulation is as inveterate in musical form 
as symmetry is in architecture; and nobody understood this 
better than the first and most uncompromising realist in the 
application of music to drama. 

Other Movements. K thorough understanding of the style 
and methods of first movements makes all the rest easy. As to 
slow movements, the first thing that must be realized is that if 
a theme conceived in an average quick tempo be played four 
times as slow it will take four times as long. Some composers, 
and even some teachers, do not seem to have learnt this remark 
able fact. In the music of a master slowness means bigness. The 
first sixteen bars of the slow movement of Beethoven s D minor 
Sonata (op. 31, no. 2) look like, and are, a single binary sentence 
closing into the seventeenth bar. But the all-seeing eye that 
takes this in at a glance may miss the important fact that that 
binary sentence takes a whole minute by the clock. Quavers at 
96 is a very good metronome-tempo for this movement, and it 
gives exactly 16 of those bars to a minute. The metronome at 72 
to a bar gives a good, moderate tempo for the finale. Now, see 
how far one minute takes us in the finale. The simple binary 
first sentence of the adagio takes as long as the two closely- 
printed pages from the beginning of the finale to the middle of 
its cadence-theme! Thus in the slow movement of Beethoven s 
Fourth Symphony (another case of sixteen bars to the minute) the 
fifteen bars beginning in E flat minor and dwelling in G flat 
(bars 50-64) are a very spacious development; and so are the 
seven bars in the middle of the slow movement of the Trio in 
D major, op. 70, no. i. Such passages are ample developments if 
they modulate widely and contain important changes of rhythm, 
instead of merely dwelling on the dominant before the return of 
the main theme, as in the slow movement of the D minor Sonata. 



First Group 


Eroica* Symphony, 1st Movement 


counters lateinent 

New theme 

rise instead of (20] 

the fall in bar 6 

r- - - - -?- -EH- --Y- 



d- for 8 bars 

third statement* transition 

d . for 10 bars 

Dominant preparation for B!> 

r EM rt 


theme continues 

(movement stops) 

I L"-rni|Y-rfi 




u >^ f r t f u vp^ 

?IPT ti*npr rl n^ * 1 i. 


New theme 

ij JJ 



Counterstatementin minor 


44 44 




New Theme 

in sm 

1 (Mmiuijshed 
Cade nee -phase 



Bars 166- 177 bar* 45-5 on 
of C with a new counterpoint 




ma) diminished I, 

; ^ ric- 

i 1 

Bars 198-208 

li!6- 198 sur 

from G mino 



d/d 220-230 =i6 
* 45" 5 on domia 

lively couaterpoint) 



C minor 

G minor 


(movemenl s 


6 similar bare 






Episode (new theme) 


2^4-290 in 
A uuuor C major 



Ci) de\ eloped 

303-306 10 
C minor 


303-306 in 


lf I 



J iJ^AJ^bJi 




&) J J 

r J (^. = ~ wnile. . . 


continued for 28 bars 

I I I I 


j) I U : 

g^ _y^ 

Dominant chords 
for 20 bars; at the 
lythof which the bon^uoabla to endure the attBpenae,patttrely intro4uoe (a) oa thetoaic 


First Group 
. Bars 3 -7. 

. till . . . Fmajoi 



D^the swing 1 of the pendulum 

Recovery on dominant 


J lff-(-jf 

^ I LJi i I 



"V- Bare 37-41 42 

I m 

I 3=r 

girt n r 

fgig^ Traoaitioa theme on domia&nt of El,followed by whole 2nd 
group; la all a tranapoaltion of 45-148. Details are changed 
at bars 127- 134,0111 the framework ia untouched. 

CODA I End of reoa- 1 , 
, pitulatioo | J 


" r r " r 

(*) developed ..*... 

mitatioo . . 

AM 283-288 R^rT I ^ tainfor * ^ ^ 

the Episode, SI ri .Aar 8 iu fg^sl 

In E minor. 

.he Episode, id: 

, v uie iu 

E (tonic) minor 


8 ia bars 332 foil : but 
witbout superatructure 







Bars 57- 64 
ia tonic 

s- r&M^^^ 


No wonder that in any movement slower than andante the full 
sonata form is unusual and of gigantic effect. The full-sized 
rondo-form (see RONDO), as in the case of the Fourth Symphony 
just mentioned, is still more voluminous in a slow tempo. -Move 
ments of more "normal size may be in A, B, A form, or sonata 
form without development (Mozart s favourite form); or may 
consist of a theme with five or six variations and a short coda. 
Haydn s form of variations on two alternating major and minoi 
themes is sometimes used by him in slow movements, and 
sometimes (in small works) as the first movement or as finale. 

The finale is often in first-movement form, but will, in such 
cases, have a much simpler texture. The last part of a work that 
moves in time will always relieve the strain on the attention. 
Hence the large number and importance of rondo-finales; and 
hence the paradox that both Haydn and Beethoven found the 
fugue an excellent form for a finale. For the fugue, while con 
tinually stimulating and exercising the mind by means of details, 
makes no claim on the listener s memory over long stretches in 
a major composition. 

The first movement, slow movement, and finale have thus an 
unlimited dramatic scope. A purely lyric or dance movement 
added to such a scheme would in itself be dramatic by contrast, 
as a song may be a dramatic element in a play. This justifies the 
dance-form of the Mozart-Haydn minuet and trio, of which 
Beethoven accentuated the dance-character when he expanded 
it to the scherzo (q.v.). Haydn s very earliest minuets show an 
inveterate irregularity of rhythm which stamps them even sooner 
than his other movements as dramatic. Mozart s minuets are 
smoother, but he can pack operas into them without bursting the 
bounds of melodic form. The minuet of his E flat Quartet 
(K.428), for example, has five distinctly expressed themes; and 
its trio, which in contrast has only one theme, moves, however, 
in four distinct new keys. 

The Sonata as a Whole. The full scheme of a sonata con 
sists, then, of these four movements, the minuet or scherzo being 
either second or third. Two movements, suitably contrasted, 
will make a sonata, even if (as in Beethoven s op. 54) neither of 
them is in full first-movement form. But it is exceptional for a 
mature work to claim the title of sonata on merely lyric forms. 
And in the case of quartets, the feeling of the classical masters 
is that when so many as four players are assembled it is a waste 
of opportunity to give them less than a four-movement work to 

Why do the classical sonatas maintain this scheme of self- 
centred movements with no community of theme ? The answer 


to this lies in the relation between their time-scale and their 
emotional content. In its early forms the sonata is a new kind 
of suite, complete in its contrasts. In its later developments the 
individual movements, while complete as designs, raise emo 
tional issues which each movement is unable to satisfy without 
the others. The first movement of Beethoven s not inaptly named 
Appassionata Sonata (op. 57) whirls us through an immense 
tragedy in eight minutes. The movement is irrevocably com 
pleted; but our emotional reactions have not more than begun. 
We need the unutterable calm of the slow movement with its 
theme rooted to its tonic chord, and its simple and solemn varia 
tions in the ancient form of doubles. A foreign chord replaces 
that of its cadence; the vision is broken and the finale rushes 
headlong to the end of a tragic fate. The whole emotional scheme 
is perfect ; but for one movement to take up the themes of another 
would be to tell a twice-told tale. Hence the classics, including 
Brahms, are not only cautious but cryptic in the few cases where 
they allow one movement to allude to another. The only occa 
sion for clearness in such allusions is with introductions, which 
may well foreshadow the following movement, and, in the case 
of introductions to finales, may dramatically recall the past. 

The emotional unity of the sonata is already significant in 
Mozart and Haydn. Their artistic hypotheses are those of 
comedy; and even so tragic a note as the last page of Haydn s 
F sharp minor Quartet (op. 50, no. 4) can be sounded only in 
the severe form of fugue. One of the most significant gestures in 
all the history of music is that of the introduction to the finale 
of Mozart s G minor Quintet. The slow movement is one of the 
profoundest things possible before Beethoven. One is inclined 
to resent the notion that such music can have limitations. Being 
perfect it is infinite, and you cannot compare infinities. But you 
can be clear as to their elements ; and the terms of its art forbid 
this pathetic music to handle tragic action. For tragedy, music 
needs such resources as are shown in Ex. 7, and these would 
shatter Mozart s aesthetic system. But after that slow move 
ment even the finale of Mozart s own G minor Symphony 
would sound peevish. So Mozart writes a solemn slow intro 
duction which bids the art of music run away and play, for the 
rest is too sad for it. And so the bright rondo-finale is another 
story. Mozart would neither violate his aesthetic system nor 
anticipate Mendelssohn s naive way of striking a religious note 
with a complete unconsciousness of its blasphemy. 

The Sonata Since Beethoven. The sonata style belongs to the 
sonata time-scale and to the classical key-system. Music in the 
Wagnerian time-scale, or in * atonal * or other new harmonic sys 
tems, has no more to do with it than Greek prose. Nor do 


changes in the general outlines of the form mean much in them 
selves. The classical forms are, even externally, far more varied 
than those of later sonata works; and the essentials of the sonata 
lie much deeper. 

Schubert achieved wonderful things in his sonata works, but 
died before he had perfected his forms. His expositions digress 
into developments, his developments subside into long twice- 
repeated lyric episodes, and his recapitulations reveal that re 
capitulating is the very thing his expositions are not designed 
to bear. Nevertheless Schubert was on the high road towards 
genuine new forms. 

What these forms were to be was best revealed by Brahms. 
It is fashionable to deny that Brahms invented new forms ; and 
this is like Humpty-Dumpty s complaint that Alice s features 
were arranged so exactly like other people s that he could not be 
expected to recognize her. Forms must be studied in detail 
from phrase to phrase, and classified afterwards : not classified by 
guesswork and warped to fit the guess. Brahms has many new 
ways of phrasing and of developing themes (see MELODY, Ex. 1 1) ; 
and no two of his forms are alike. Least of all composers does he 
resemble Schumann, whom he was at first accused of imitating. 

Schumann s sonata works show an interesting artificial system. 
His ideas were lyric and epigrammatic; and they shaped them 
selves squarely and with a Macaulayesque habit of antithesis. 
With this style he contrived to build important sonata works as 
one might construct a landscape in mosaic. He knew what he 
was doing, and the result is often delightful. In his D minor 
Symphony he achieved a new continuity of form and theme, re 
taining the classical group of four main movements, but running 
them together without break and using transformations of the 
same themes in all four. Schumann s hard outlines and square 
rhythms have been copied without his wit in countless later 
sonata works, especially by those Russian composers who, led by 
Nicolas Rubinstein, danced upon his grave in derision of these 
very features. 

Mendelssohn handled all sonata forms with an often dangerous 
facility, but sometimes with genius. The opening of his D minor 
Trio is the prototype of those innumerable allegros which are 
really andantes riding an ambling horse or running up a descend 
ing escalator. 

The masterly scheme (there is only one) of Spohr is (as 
Schumann remarked) not so easy to imitate as it looks; but it is 
the prototype of most pseudo-classical works up to the present 
day; and many teachers believe it to be the only orthodox form. 
Against such teaching young artists do well to revolt, but why 
call it classical? 


The quality most conspicuously absent In sonata work since 
Brahms is movement. The fundamental mistake of Bruckner 
was in associating his Wagnerian style with sonata forms at 
all. Sibelius solves Bruckner s problem, and takes and leaves the 
sonata style as he pleases, and always with clear purpose, whether 
convincingly or not. Reger s meticulously regular forms are 
hard to accept as the really proper vessel for his strong chromatic 
brew; and as for imitating him, one might as well try to write 
a Meredith novel from one metaphor to the next. The art of 
movement is the crux of the sonata problem; and the classical 
solutions of it from Haydn to Brahms are the greatest things in 
pure music. 


SUITE (Suite de pieces, Ordre, Partita), a group of dance tunes 
in melodic forms (see SONATA FORMS). It consists essentially of 
four principal movements with the insertion of one or more 
lighter movements between the third and the last. 

The first movement is the attemande, in slow common time 
and rich flowing rhythm, beginning with one or three short notes 
before the first full bar. 

The second movement is the courante, of which there are two 
kinds. The French courante begins with one or three notes before 
the main beat, and is in a triple time (f) which, invariably at the 
cadences and sometimes elsewhere, drops into a crossing triple 
rhythm of twice the pace (f). In homage to Couperin, Bach 
often uses the French courante, but he is happier with the Italian 
type of corrente, a brilliant continuously running piece in quick 
triple time (f or f). 

The sarabande is a slow movement in triple time beginning on 
the full bar, and with at least a tendency to the rhythm 

5 J J i JlJ o I 

of which Handel s aria Lama ch io pianga is a familiar example. 
Bach s sarabandes are among the most simply eloquent and 
characteristic of his smaller compositions. 

Then come the galanteries, from one to three in number. 
These are the only suite-movements (except some of Couperin s 
courantes) which can have an alternative section and a da capo. 
The commonest galanteries are: (i) the minuet, often with a 
second minuet, which is called trio only when it is in real three- 
part writing ; it is a little faster than the stately minuet in Mozart s 
Don Giovanni, and it always begins on the full bar. ^(2) The 
gavotte, a lively dance in a not too rapid alia breve time; the 
gavotte always begins on the half-bar. A second alternating 
gavotte is frequently founded on a pedal or drone-bass, and is 
then called musette. (3) The bourree, which is not unlike the 
gavotte, but quicker and beginning on the last quarter of the bar. 
(4) The passepied, a lively dance in quick triple time, beginning 
on the third beat. These dances are not always cast in binary 
form, and there are famous examples of gavottes and passepieds 
en rondeau. Other less common galanteries are: (5) the loure, 
a slow dance in T time and dotted rhythm; (6) the polonaise, a 
leisurely triple-time piece, with cadences on the second instead 
of (as in later polonaises) the third beat of the bar; (7) the air, a 



short movement, quietly flowing, in a more florid style than its 
name would suggest. It sometimes precedes the sarabande. 

The suite concludes with agigue, in the finest examples of which 
the melodic binary form is combined with a light fugue style. 
The gigue is generally in some triplet rhythm, e.g. f, |, f, \ 2 -; 
but examples in a graver style may be found in slow square 
time with dotted rhythms, as in Bach s first French Suite and the 
sixth Partita of the Clavicrubung. In Couperin s first volume of 
Ordres, the gigue is followed by an enormous number of pieces 
which cannot have been intended to be all played on the same 
occasion, though they were all in the same key. 

Ex&mples illustrating the Suite: 
GO Allemande 

BACH. Fourth Violin Solo 



BACH. .StarM Violin So/o 

;ru j rr;r 

(f) Gigue 

BACB. Second French Suite 

For another type of Gigue see Sonata Forms , Ex. 2, and for a Gavotte see *Roudo/ Ex. r. 

Suites on a large scale begin with a prelude in some larger 
form. Bach s French Suites have no preludes; his English Suites 
all have a great first movement which, except in the first suite, is 
in full da capo concerto form. His Partitas cover a wider range 

SUITE 235 

both in their preludes and their other contents. Some large 
suites have finales after the gigue, the great Chaconne for violin 
solo being the finale of a partita (see VARIATIONS). 

The later uses of the word * suite comprise almost all sets of 
pieces mainly in forms smaller than those of the sonata, especially 
such pieces as have been selected from ballets or from incidental 
music to plays. 


SYMPHONIC POEM (SympJionische Dichtung, Tondichtung, Poeme 
$ymphontque> &c.), as a term, was first used by Liszt In his twelve 
Symphonische Dichtungen. It implies a large orchestral composi 
tion which, whatever its length and changes of tempo, is not 
broken up into separate movements, and which, moreover, 
gratuitously illustrates a train of thought external to the music 
and to its conditions of performance. The form of the symphonic 
poem is dictated by its written or unwritten programme ; and so 
it is not every piece of programme music that can be called a 
symphonic poem. Beethoven s Sonata Les Adieux and his * Pas 
toral Symphony are, for instance, works in which the poetic 
idea does not interfere with the normal development of sonata 

Great disturbances in musical art have always been accom 
panied by appeals to external ideas. New art-forms are not born 
mature, and in their infancy their parent arts naturally invite 
other arts to stand godfather. It is certain, first, that no theoriz 
ing can long prevent musical ideas from growing where and how 
they please; secondly, that musical ideas are just as likely to be 
inspired by literature and other arts as by any other kind of 
experience; and lastly, that, as musicians gain in mastery, their 
music outstrips their literary analysis. Hence the frequent ability 
of great composers to set inferior words to music which is not 
only great, but evidently based upon those words. Hence the 
disgust of great composers at unauthorized literary interpreta 
tions of their works. Hence, on the other hand, the absence of 
any strain on the classical composer s conscience as to making 
his music gratuitously illustrative. Accordingly, the importance 
of the symphonic poem lies, not m its illustrative capacity, but in 
its tendency towards a new instrumental art of tomorrow. 

The symphonic poem has been described elsewhere (see MUSIC, 
ix, and PROGRAMME MUSIC) as the application of the Wagnerian 
time-scale to symphonic music. Liszt is successful only where 
he is writing on a hardly more than lyric scale, as in Orpheus, 
or, at the utmost, on a scale less than that of the earliest and 
best of all symphonic poems, Schubert s Wanderer Fantasia 
(op. 15). Schubert had not the slightest idea that he was writing 
a symphonic poem; but in that piece he achieved everything 
that Liszt attempted, even to the metamorphosis of whole sec 
tions. Listz s efforts on a larger time-scale do not even begin 
to solve the problem ; they achieve no sense of movement at all, 
and the device of deriving all their themes from a single figure 



is totally irrelevant. Saint-Saens and Cesar Franck are incapable 
of such failure, and their symphonic poems flow very convin 
cingly, though not on a very large scale. They also Illustrate 
their subjects amusingly enough. The first achievement of real 
Wagnerian symphonic art belongs to Richard Strauss. The 
power of composition in his Also sprach Zaralhustra, Ein Helden- 
leben> the ostentatiously but deceptively patchy Don Quixote, and 
the Symphonia Domestica will carry conviction long after we have 
forgotten all about their programmes. 


SYMPHONY. The term wiL<j>a>vla was used by the Greeks, first, 
to denote concord in general, whether in successive or simul 
taneous sounds; secondly, in the special sense of concordant 
pairs of successive sounds (i.e., the perfect interval of modern 
music; the fourth, fifth, and octave); and thirdly, as dealing with 
&vn(j)(jt>vov, the concord of the octave, thus meaning the art of 
singing in octaves, or magadizing, as opposed to d/io$<Wa, or 
singing and playing in unison. In Roman times the word 
appears in the general sense, which still survives in poetry, viz., 
as a harmonious concourse of voices and instruments. It also 
appears to mean a concert. In St. Luke xv. 25, it is distinguished 
from xopoi and translated as signifying musick and dancing . 
Polybius and others seem to use it as the name of a musical in 

In the seventeenth century the term is used, like concerto , 
for certain vocal compositions accompanied by instruments, e.g., 
the Symphoniae sacrae of Schiitz. The modern use of the word 
symphony for the instrumental ritornello of a song is also found 
in Schiitz s Kleine geistliche Concerts. 

The principal modern meaning of the word is a sonata for 
orchestra (see SONATA FORMS). The orchestral symphony origi 
nated in the operatic overture (q.v.), which in the middle of the 
eighteenth century began to assimilate the essentials of the sonata, 
style. Mozart s overture to his early opera, La Finta Giardiniera, 
marks the breaking-point between three-movement symphony 
and operatic overture, since it contains the usual first movement 
and slow movement, and the curtain rises with what sounds like 
the beginning of its third movement. 

Though the sonata style is dramatic, the stiffness of its early 
forms did not help Gluck towards his ideal of an overture that 
should prepare the listener for the drama. Hence the overtures 
of Gluck are based on the contrast of loosely knit passages of 
various textures in vague forms which he learned from San 
Martini. These are no less evident in the symphonies of 
Philipp Emanuel Bach. 

The differentiation between symphony and overture raised 
the dignity of the symphony; but the style was more essential 
than the form; and in Mozart s and Haydn s mature works we 
find the sonata form as firmly established in the overture as in 
the symphony, while the styles are quite distinct. Mozart s most 
elaborate overture, that of Die Zauberflote, could not possibly be 



the first movement of one of his later symphonies; nor could 

the finale of his * Jupiter" Symphony be taken for a prelude to 
an opera* 




VARIATIONS, the term given in music to groups of progressively 
developed versions of a complete self-contained theme, retain 
ing the form of that theme though not necessarily its melody. 
This is the classical sense of the term, but there are modern 
developments of the variation form to which this definition is at 
once too broad and too precise to apply. The aesthetic principle 
of variations appeared at very early stages of music. During the 
sixteenth century an artistically mature variation-form auto 
matically rose in the polyphonic treatment of Gregorian hymns 
verse by verse. Accordingly, the hymns and Magnificats of 
Palestrina might be described as contrapuntal sets of variations 
on ecclesiastical tunes, like rich and free examples on the simple 
plan shown later by Haydn s variations on his Austrian national 
anthem in the Emperor Quartet (op. 76, no. 3). Already in 
the sixteenth century instrumental music was climbing up the 
trellis of a primitive variation-form. A favourite plan (see the 
FitswilUam Virginal Book, passim) was to put together several 
popular or original tunes, with an ornamental variation sand 
wiched between. Sometimes sets of variations on a single tune 
were produced, with excellent effect, as in Byrd s variations on 

* The Carman s Whistle . Such variations were naturally grouped 
in order of increasing brilliance, and they often include passages 
that would catch the greatest pianoforte players. 

In the seventeenth century a highly artistic form of variation 
solved with great simplicity the problem of expanding instru 
mental pieces to a length admitting of growth to a big climax. 
This was the ground bass, a single phrase placed in the bass and 
repeating itself ad infinitum. It originated in the dance forms of 
the passacaglia and the chaconne. Both were in slow triple time, 
the chaconne having a strong accent on the second beat, while 
the passacaglia, by some chance, developed the liberty to transfer 
its theme to other parts than the bass. The genius of Purcell 
was cruelly hampered by the non-existence of large musical 
forms in his time, and he seized upon the ground bass with 
avidity. By the time of Bach and Handel lighter sets of varia 
tions, consisting essentially of embroidery on a melody, had 
come into vogue. Bach s Aria variata alia maniera Italiana tells 
us where this fashion began ; and in France the air et doubles was 
taken over from early English virginal music. Doubles are varia 
tions each of which divides the rhythm into quicker notes than 
the one before. The most familiar example is that known as 

* The Harmonious Blacksmith in Handel s E major Suite, Some- 




times the air itself was stated in a tangle of ornamentation, while 
the doubles simplified the melody and varied the accompani 
ment. But Bach had meanwhile applied the principle of the 
ground-bass to variations on a complete symmetrical movement 
in binary form. His Aria with thirty Variations, commonly 
known as the Goldberg* Variations, is (with the exception of 
Beethoven s Thirty-three Veranderungen on a waltz by Diabelli) 
the most gigantic set of variations in the world. A melodically 
interesting ground bass could not be maintained on so large a 
scale ; but the thirty- two bars of Bach s theme are so many clear 
harmonic steps which can be represented by many analogous 
progressions, without loss of identity. (Ex. la and ib.) There 
is no question of retaining or varying the melody of the aria, 
which is a tissue of ornaments that -will bear neither development 
nor simplification. 

Ex. la Harmonic Thern^ EACH, Goldberg Variation* 


f f 

1 r 



it ~ if if i 

The rise of the sonata style again brought the melodic-em 
broidery variation into prominence ; for in sonata forms we iden 
tify themes entirely by their melodies. Now, with not more than 
three or four exceptions, the best sets of variations by Mozart 
and Haydn are movements in their sonata works; and their 
independent sets are either early or perfunctory exercises and 
encore-pieces. Two common mistakes of professional and ama 
teur criticism are, first, the judging of Haydn s and Mozart s 
variations by these parerga, and secondly, the much graver error 
of despising the embroidery variation on principle. It is either 
vulgar or sublime. And it is handled lovingly by precisely the 
greatest masters of deep harmonic and rhythmic variation, 
Beethoven and Brahms. Haydn is fond of a special form first 
known in Philipp Emanuel Bach. It consists of alternating 


variations on two themes, alternately major and minor; the first 
a rich and complete binary melody, and the other a shorter binary 
melody, often beginning with the same figure as the first. The 
first theme usually returns as if it were going to be unvaried, but 
its first repeat is an ornamental variation. The form is rarely 
worked out far enough to include more than one variation of the 
second theme ; and sometimes (as in the famous * Gypsy * Trio) 
there are new episodes instead of variations of the second theme, 
so that the form becomes a sectional rondo. The only strict 
example of Haydn s type of alternating variations in later music 
is the first allegretto of Beethoven s Pianoforte Trio in E flat 
(op. 70, no. 2) ; but a magnificent application of it, without change 
of mode, though with a wide range of key, is shown in the slow 
movement of his C minor Symphony. 

Beethoven, in his last works, invented another variation-form 
on two themes, of which the second is in a different key and time. 
The examples of this are the slow movement of the Ninth Sym 
phony and the Lydian figured chorale in the A minor Quartet. 
In the slow movement of Brahms s F major String Quintet 
(op. 88), the alternation of the two keys gives rise, in the last line 
of the movement, to one of the most astonishing dramatic strokes 
in all music. Beethoven uses embroidery variations as means of 
obtaining extraordinary repose in slow movements. The extreme 
case of this is the slow movement of the Sonata op. 57 (com 
monly called Appassionato), which is described in the article on 
SONATA FORMS. In this, and in many other instances, his method 
is that of the air et doubles, which grows to a natural climax 
which can subside into the rhythm of the plain theme. Until his 
latest works, such sets of variations are never finished. Their 
dramatic intent is that of a repose which is too unearthly to last ; 
and at the first sign of dramatic motion or change of key the 
sublime vision fades into the light of common day , a light which 
Beethoven is far too great an idealist to despise. See the Andante 
of the B flat Trio (op. 97) ; and the slow movement of the Violin 
Concerto, which contains two episodic themes in the same key. 
In his later works Beethoven found means, by striking out into 
foreign keys, of organizing a coda which finally spins down in 
fragmentary new variations, or even returns to the plain theme. 
Thus he was able to end his Sonatas, opp. 109 and in, with 
solemn slow movements. 

Beethoven also found other applications of the variation forms. 
Thus the finale of the Eroica Symphony has not only the 
theme but many other ideas in common with the brilliant set of 
Variations and Fugue for pianoforte on a theme from Prometheus 
(op. 35); and the Fantasia for pianoforte, chorus, and orchestra, 
and the choral finale of the Ninth Symphony, are sets of melo- 



die variations with freely-developed connecting links and epi 
sodes. In the case of the Ninth Symphony, a second thematic 
idea eventually combines with the figures of the first theme in 
double fugue. 

But Beethoven s highest art in variation-form is independent 
of the sonata. From his earliest display of pianoforte playing, 
the wonderful twenty-four Variations on a theme by Righini, to 
his supreme variation-work, the thirty-three on Diabelli s waltz, 
he uses and transcends every older means of variation and adds 
his own discoveries. Before Beethoven the basis of variations 
might be a ground bass, a melody, or a harmonic scheme. 
Beethoven discovered that rhythm and form can, with a suitable 
theme, be a solid basis for variations. The aria of Bach s * Gold 
berg * Variations is in its phrasing as uniform as a chess-board ; 
and if its harmonies had not a one-to-one correspondence with 
each variation the form would be lost. But there are themes, such 
as Haydn s Corale St. Antonii, which Brahms varied, where the 
phrasing is interesting in itself. A similar example is the theme 
by Paganini (Ex. 2a) which inspired Brahms to compose two 
complete sets on it. 

Ex. 2a 

Forma! theme by PAOAK19! 

l.Tonic *ndi Dominant \ 

Ex. 2b 

Outline of Variation bj Brahms 


The climax in the history of variations dates from the moment 
when Beethoven was just about to begin his Ninth Symphony, 
and received from A. Diabelli a waltz which that publisher was 
sending round to all the musicians in Austria, so that each might 
contribute a variation to be published for the benefit of the suf 
ferers in the late Napoleonic wars. Diabelli s theme was absurdly 
prosaic, but it happened to be, perhaps, the sturdiest piece of 
musical anatomy that Beethoven (or any composer since) ever 
saw; and in it moved Beethoven to defer his work on the Ninth 
Symphony! The shape of Diabelli s waltz may be illustrated by 
a diagram which represents its first sixteen bars; the upright 
strokes (not the spaces) being the bars, and the brackets and dots 
(together with the names underneath) indicating the rhythmic 
groups. The second part also consists of sixteen bars, moving 

nu m? o , .IT tT ^ nil 

Tonic Dominant Rising sequence Close in 


harmonically back from the dominant to the tonic, and rhyth 
mically the same as the first part. This plan is astonishingly 
elastic. The alternation of tonic and dominant in the first eight 
bars may be represented by another familiar form in which three 
bars of tonic and a fourth of dominant are answered by three 
bars of dominant and a fourth of tonic ; as in Variation 14 (which 
must be reckoned in half-bars). Again, when the theme answers 
the tonic by the dominant it raises the first melodic figure by one 
step, and this may be translated by the answer on the supertondc 
harmony. In the course of fifty minutes a few of these thirty- 
three variations become vague as to more than the beginnings 
and cadences of the theme ; and there are three simple variations 
in which one would like to ask Beethoven whether he had not 
inadvertently omitted a bar; but the momentum of the theme is 
never lost ; and after a group of three slow and rather free varia 
tions this momentum breaks into an entirely free fugue (Varia 
tion 32) on a salient feature of what must by courtesy be called 
Diabelli s melody. A free fugue is a favourite solution of the 
problem of the coda in a set of variations. The momentum pro 
duced by the revolution of true variations in the orbit of the 
theme gives the key to the whole problem. A fugue solves it by 
flying off at a tangent.^ Very sublime is the way in which Beet 
hoven, after letting his fugue run its torrential course, returns to 
the orbit of his theme in an ethereal little minuet with a short 
coda of its own which, sixteen bars before the end, shows signs 
of beginning to revolve again. 

Again, let us regard the period of the theme not as an orbit 
but as diurnal rotation. We can then describe the codas of 


Brahms s Paganim Variations as produced by accelerating the 
spin till it breaks away for a while and then resumes for a few 
final catastrophic whirls; exactly like a dying top (though this, 
of course, does not accelerate its spin). * Without acceleration 
Beethoven ended his wonderful C minor Variations (most per 
fect of passacaglias) in this way. Brahms found in Haydn s 
Corale St. Antonii the opportunity for another method." He 
took the first five bars as^a ground-bass, within which narrow 
orbit the finale moves until its climax broadens out into the rest 
of the glorious theme, and so rounds off the whole work, 

Bach poised the contrasts and climaxes of the Goldberg 
Variations so accurately that the ending of the whole by a simple 
da capo of the theme is astonishingly effective. It is as if a 
charming old ancestress of a living line of great folk were to step 
from the frame of her Holbein portrait and bow to her assembled 

To speak of the progress in variation-form since Beethoven 
is like speaking of the progress in reinforced concrete since the 
Parthenon. The classical variation-form is limited only by the 
composer s imagination and technique; and the removal of its 
foundations does not enlarge it at all. There is no reason to con 
demn other kinds of variation; and many great and beautiful 
works in non-classical variation-form exist, from Schumann s 
Etudes Symphoniques to Elgar s Enigma Variations and Dohn- 
dnyi s Variations on a Nursery Song. But no free variation that 
breaks down the phrasing of its theme and follows its own dis 
cursive ways will ever achieve anything externally so unlike the 
theme as a strict harmonic and rhythmic variation on classical 
lines. (See Ex. 2b.) Nor will a series of such variations, acquire 
anything like the classical momentum. On the contrary. In 
clumsy hands the free variation becomes apologetic in the way 
in which it offers raw chunks of the original melody as evidence 
that it has not forgotten its duty, like Lewis Carroll s poetic 
Tema con Variazioni^ the preface to which is an unconscious 
epitome of modern misunderstandings of the form. 

Variation writers may be scientifically classified into those who 
know their theme and those who do not. There is no reasonable 
doubt that many very clever composers, from Mendelssohn 
onwards, have completely misunderstood the nature of the 
deeper classical variations, and have thought that anything so 
unlike the original tune must be quite independent of it. Men 
delssohn s Variations serieuses have a beautiful theme with a 
structure that might have given rise to splendid features; but 
Mendelssohn simply ignores this structure and replaces it by 
weaker things in almost every variation. Schumann shows more 
insight. He has no great grip of his theme, but he tries to dii- 


tinguish by titles those variations which are true from those 
which are episodic ; thus in the Etudes Symphoniques the Etudes 
are numbered separately from the variations; the Andante of 
the F major Quartet is called quasi variazioni , and the strictest 
set he ever wrote (on a theme by Clara Wieck) is called Im 

Brahms stands alone in his grip of his theme. Reger is no 
nearer the classical form in his variations than in his other works. 
The present state of the form seems to indicate that if the com 
poser does not aim at strict variations his most vital results will 
be on the line of melodic development, as in the above-mentioned 
works of Elgar and Dohn&nyi, the Symphonic Variations of 
Dvofdk, and those variations of Reger which are closest to this 


Animuccia, Laud! Spirituali, 156. 

Auld Lang Syne , 52. 

Bach, C. P. E., Israeliten in der 

Wuste, 160. 
Bach, J. S. 
Aria Variata alia maniera Italiana, 

Capri cclo on the denature of a 

beloved brother, 170. 
Chaconne, 235. 
Christmas Oratorio, 2, 4, 158. 
Chromatic Fantasia, 65. 
Church Cantatas, 4, 12, 13, 14, 

32, 64, 89, 158, 160, 164. 

Brandenburg, 14. 

Clavier in D minor, 15. 

Clavier in F minor, 15. 

Three claviers in D minor, 15. 

Three claviers in C major, 32, 

Clavier, flute, and violin in A 
minor, 15. 

Violin in E major, 15. 
Forty-eight, the, 27, 31, 33, 37, 

38, 43, 57, 64, 92. 
Goldberg Variations, the, 22, 

24-5, 241, 243, 245. 
Klavierubung, 164, 234. 
Kunst der Fuge, die, 24, 32, 103. 

,~*B minor, 2, 22, 31, 32, 76, 88-9, 

Short, 88. 

Mem glaubiges Herze, 160. 
Musikalische Opfer, Das, 36. 
Orgelbuchlein, 28. 
Partitas, 234-5. 
Passions, 156-8, 161. 

Johannes, 159. 

Marcus, 157. 

Matthias, 15, 77, 158. 
Suites, 3. 

English, 234. 

French, 234. 

Violin Solo No. 4, 234. 

Violin Solo No. 6, 194-5, 234. 

Violoncello Solo, No. 3, 211: 

No. 6, 234. 
Trauer Ode, 77. 
Barbara Allen , 91, 208. 

Bagatelles, 127, 200. 
Christus am Oelberge, 160-1. 
Concertos, for pianoforte: 

C minor, 16, 61, 179. 

C major, 16. 

E flat major, 16. 
for violin, 242. 
Fantasia, chorus and orchestra, 

Fidelia, 21, 126, 148, 149, 150, 


Gtorreiche Att%enbllck, 5. 

Eqmont, music for, 154. 

First Mass, 88. 

Mass in D, 31, 87, 88, 153. 
Mecresstille, 5. 

Coriolan, 169, 

Estmont, 169. 

tconorc. Nos, 2 and 3, 165, 169. 

Weihe dcs Huu.wi, Zur, 19, 
Quartets for strings: 

A minor, 242. 

C minor, 27. 

F minor, 61. 

op. 18, 9. 

op. 74, Harp , 213. 

op. 131, 200. 

Quintet for strirscs, op. 29, 168. 
Quintet-Fugue, 10, 
Serenade for flute, violin, and 

violoncello, 8. 
Septet, 10. 
Sonatas for pianoforte : 

op. 2, no. 2, 192, 218-19. 

op. 3, 189. 

op. 10, no. 1, 185. 

op. 10, no. 3, 192. 

op. 13 (PatMtique) t 192. 

op. 14, no. 1, 192. 

op. 14, no. 2, 60, 192. 

op. 22, 125. 

op. 31, no. 1, 60, 220, 

op. 31, no. 2, 168, 

op. 31, no. 3, 62, 201. 

op. 53 (Waldstem), 65, 93-4, 

op. 54, 229, 

op. 57 (Appassionato), 230, 

op. 8 la, 236. 

op. 90, 192, 196-9. 

op. 106, 23, 24, 25, 61, 65. 

op. 109, 242. 

op. 110, 23, 24. 
Sonatas for violin and pianoforte: 

op. 24, 168. 

op. 47 (Kreutzer), 208, 209. 
-I, 27. 

II, 79. 

III, 60, 130, 168, 219, 221-8, 

IV, 192, 200, 220, 229. 

V, 130, 200. 

VI, 168-9, 236. 

VII, 50, 202-6. 

VIII, 80. 

IX, 5, 21, 183, 242-3, 244. 

op. 3, 9, 

D major, op. 70, no. 1, 220. 

op. 70, no. 2, 242. 


B flat, op. 97, 92-3, 242. 
three trios for strings, op. 9, 9. 
for two oboes and cor anglais, 


Variations, C minor, 245. 
Diabelli, 241, 244. 
Prometheus, 242. 
Righini, 243. 

Damnation de Faust, La, 21. 
Requiem, 89. 

Romeo and Juliet, 172, 201. 
Symphonic Fantastique, 21. 
Bizet, Carmen, 148, 153. 
Bluebell of Scotland , the, 52, 208. 
Boccherini, Quintets, 7. 
Boito, Mefistofele, 139-40. 

Nerone t 139-40. 
for pianoforte: 
No. 1 in D minor, 16. 
No. 2 in B flat major, 17. 
for violin, 16-17. 
Double, 17. 

Hungarian Dances, 47. 
Organ chorales, 228. 

Academic Festival , 165. 
Tragic , 165. 
for strings and pianoforte in G 

minor, op. 25, 192. 
in A minor, op. 51, 24. 
for piano and strings in F 

minor, op. 34, 94. 
for clarinet and strings in B 

minor, op. 115, 8. 
Requiem, 90, 163. 
Rinaldo, 5. 

Rounds for voices, 21. 
Sextets, 9. 

No. Ill in F major, 66. 
No. IV in E minor, 201. 
Trio for clarinet, violoncello, and 

pianoforte, 24. 
Triumphlied, 31. 

On a theme of Haydn (St. An- 

toni Chorale), 24, 31, 34, 243. 

On a theme of Paganini, 243, 

Bruch, Violin concerto in G minor, 

Bruckner, Mass, 88. 

Byrd, Carman s Whistle , the, 240. 

Caccini, Euridice, 143. 

Cavalere, Rappresentazione di ani- 

ma e di corpo, 156. 
Cesti, Porno d Oro, 120. 

Deux Journees, Les (The Water- 
carrier), 126, 127, 148. 

Lodb iska, 148. 

Masses, 88. 

Medee, 148. 

Requiems, 88, 89. 


Ballades, 127. 

Sonata in B flat minor, 127. 

Scherzo No. 4, 201. 
Corelli, Sonata da chiesa and so 
nata da camera , 120, 207. 
Cruger, Hymn Tunes, 12. 
Davies, Walford, Everyman, 163. 
Debussy, Pelleas et Melisande, 67 

Dittersdorf, Doktor und Apotheker, 

Metamorphoses Symphonies, 171. 
Dohnanyi, Variations on a Nursery 

Song, 245. 
Dvorak, Requiem, 90. 

Symphonic Variations, 246. 

Apostles, The, 163. 
Concerto for violin, 16. 
Dream of Gerontius, The, 139, 


Enigma Variations, the, 245. 
Kingdom, The, 163. 
Fasch, C. F. C., Mass, 89. 
Field, John, Nocturnes, 128. 
Fitzwilliam Virginal Book, 240. 
Froberger, Funeral piece for organ, 


Fux, Gradus ad Parnassum, 32. 
Genevan Psalter, 13. 
Glareanus, Dodecachordon, 109. 
Gluck, Alceste, 2, 164. 
Iphigenie en Tauride, 164. 
Orfeo, 164. 

Goudimel, Psalter, 13. 
Graun, Tod Jesu, 158. 
Gounod, Faust, 133. 
Gregorian Chant, 19, 28. 
Haba, Quartets, 71. 
Hale, Adam de la, 20, 110. 

Acis and Galatea, 157. 
Alexander Balus, 11. 
Almira, 123. 
Athalia, 159. 
Belshazzar, 159. 
Brockes Passion, 159. 
Chandos Anthems, 4. 
Esther, 159. 

Israel in Egypt, 76, 159, 160, 163. 
Lascia ch io pianga, 233. 
Messiah, 13, 56, 58, 76, 150, 159 

160, 161, 163, 189. 
Resurrezzione, La, 157. 
Samson, 159. 
Semele, 157. 
Silete Venti, 4. 
Solomon, 159. 
Susanna, 159. 

Variations for pianoforte ( Har 
monious Blacksmith, the ), 240. 

Creation, The, 160. 

.Distratto, II, 171. 

London Symphonies, 214. 

Masses, 87. 

Quartets, 7, 21, 200, 212-13, 218- 

19, 230, 240. 
Seasons, The, 160. 


Sonatas, 61. 

Tobias, 160. 

Trios, 7, 242. 
Henschel, Requiem, 89. 

Fugal Overture, 190. 

Hymn of Jesus, 140. 

Perfect Fool, The, 189. 

Planets, The, 170. 
Honegger, Roi David, Le, 163. 
Joachim, Hungarian Concerto, 16. 
Jommelli, Passione, 160. 
Josquin des Pre"s, Deploration de 
Johan Okenheim, 84, 111, 113- 

Miserere, 28, 112. 
Kuhnau, Bible Sonatas, 170. 
Lasso, Orlando di, 

Clebrons sans cesse, 20. 

Madrigals, 84. 

Motets, 28, 112. 

Regina Coeli, 21. 
L homme arme , 111, 189. 

Ce qu on entend sur la montasne. 

Fantasia on Robert le Diabte, 

Orpheus, 130, 236. 

Preludes, Les, 136. 
Luther, Enchiridion , 13. 

Vom Himmel hoch, 12. 
MacRimmon s Lament , 91. 
Mahler, Symphony No. VIII, 83. 
Marenzio, Madrigals, 65. 
Mehul, Ariodant, 165. 

Joseph, 125, 148. 

Jeune Sage et le Vieux Fou, Le, 

Uthai, 165. 

Andante and Scherzo, 10. 
Capriccio, 10. 
Concerto for violin, 17. 
Elijah, 161, 187. 
Fugue in E minor, 10. 
Hebrides Overture, 165. 
Lobgesang, 5. 
Midsummer Night s Dream, 154, 

172, 201. 
Octet, 10. 
Quartets op. 44, nos. 2 and 3, 


St. Paul, 161. 
Songs without Words, 128. 
Symphonies : 

Italian , 172. 

Scotch , 172, 201. 
Trio in D minor, 231. 
Variations Serieuses, 245. 
Walpurgisnacht, 5. 

Arianna, 1, 118, 143. 
Combattimento di Tancredi e 

Clorinda, 143. 
Cruda Amarilli, 118. 
Orfeo, 143, 164. 
Mussorgsky, Boris Godunov, 73, 

Khovantchina, 134. 


Betulia liberata, La, 157. 
Clemenza di Tito, La, 145. 
Cost fan tune, 21, 145, 149, 173. 
Divertimenti, 10. 
Divertimento in E flat, 9. 
Don Giovanni, 81, 126, 146, 149, 

180, 189-90, 233. 
Duets for violin and viola, 9. 
Entfuhrung, Die, 145, 149, 165 
Figaro, 145-6, 149, 165. 
Finta Giardiniera, La, 149. 
Idomeneo, 145-6. 
Masses, 85, 87, 88. 
Musikalischer Spass, 173. 
Quartets, 7, 8, 125, 229. 

In E flat (K.428), 229. 

in G major, 27. 

for flute and strings, 88. 

for oboe and strings, 8. 

for pianoforte and strings, 8. 

for pianoforte and strings in G 

minor, 215. 
Quintets, 8. 

D major, 27. 

G minor, 230. 

for clarinet and strings, 8. 

for pianoforte and wind, 8. 

for violin, two violas, violon 
cello, and horn, 8. 
Requiem, 22, 29. 
Rounds for voices, 21. 
Serenades, 10. 

in B flat major, 3. 

in C minor, 215. 

for thirteen wind instruments, 

Sonatas, for violin, 123. 

for violin in F (K.377), 207. 
Sposo deluso, Lo, 165. 

in E flat, 79. 

in C ( Jupiter ), 24, 27, 32, 35, 

217, 239. 
Trios for pianoforte and strings, 

7, 8. 

Zaide, 154. 
Zauberftdte, 27, 136, 145, 150, 

151, 173, 185, 238. 
Obrecht, Masses, 111. 
Osiander, Geistliche lieder , 13. 
Paisiello, Barbiere di SevigUa, 11, 


Hymns, 13, 240 
Hodie Chris tus natus est, 73. 
Improperly, 112. 
Lamentations, 112. 
Madrigali spirituali, 84. 
Magnificats, 240. 

L homme arme 1 , 189. 

Papae Marcelli, 111, 112. 

Quern dicunt homines, 97. 

Salve Regina, 25. 
Stabat Mater, 53, 96, 112, 186. 
Tribularer si nescirem, 112. 
Parry, King Saul, 162. 
Pergolesi, Serva Padrona, La. 123, 



Stabat Mater, 123. 
Peri, Euridice, 143, 156. 
Porta, Constanzo, Vobis datum est 

cognoscere mysterium, 103. 
Prose de I Ane, 156. 

Dido and Aeneas, 120, 144. 

King Arthur, 144. 

Mad Bess , 4. 

Mad Tom , 4. 
Rameau, Poule, La, 170. 
Ravel, Trio, 190. 

Barbiere di Seviglia, 11, 146-7. 

Guillaume Tell, 133, 148. 
Otello, 147. 


for pianoforte in C minor, 18. 
for violoncello, 18. 

Septet, 10. 
Scarlatti, Alessandro, Vocal Arias, 


Schonberg, Gurrelieder, 70, 139. 

Allegro in C minor, 10. 

Characteristic Marches, 175. 

Lazarus, 161, 163. 

Masses, 21, 88. 

Octet, 10. 

Quartet in D minor, 60. 

Quintet in C major, 9, 60. 

Concerto for pianoforte, 17. 

Davidsbiindlertdnze, 171. 

Etudes Symphoniques, 245, 246. 

Impromptus, 246. 

Kreisleriana, 111. 

Novelet ten, 171. 

Quartet in F major, 246. 

Requiem, 89. 

Symphony in D minor, 231. 

Historia der Auferstehung Christi, 
157, 158. 

Kleine geistliche Concerte, 238. 

Lamentatio Davidi, 74. 

Passions, 157. 

Symphoniae Sacrae, 238. 
Scriabin, Poeme de I Extase, 138. 

Sonatas, 69. 

Smyth, Ethel, Mass, 88. 
Soriano, Nos autem gloriari, 96-7. 

Passions, 156. 

Double Quartets, 9-10. 

Duets for two violins, 9. 
Last Judgement, The, 161. 

Weihe der Tone, Die, 172. 
Stanford, Eden, 84, 162. 
Strauss, Richard 
Aegyptische Helene, Die, 136. 

Alpen-Sinfonie, 136, 173. 

Also sprach Zarathustra, 173, 237. 

Don Quixote, 168, 173, 237. 

Elektra, 136, 153, 166. 

Frau ohne Schatten, Die, 136, 

Heldenleben, Ein, 136, 173, 237. 

Salome, 136, 153, 166. 

Sinjonia Domestica, 173, 237. 

Till Eulenspiegel, 173. 

Tod und Verkldrung, 136. 
Stravinsky, Chamber Music, 10. 

Petrouchka, 138. 

Golden Legend, The, 135, 150. 

Savoy Operas, 135, 154. 

Martyr of Antioch, The, 135. 
Sumer is icumen in , 20, 47, 109, 


Tallis, Responses, 112. 
Tchaikovsky, Symphony No. VI, 

Pathetic , 190. 

Vaughan Williams, Yastoral* Sym 
phony, 71. 

Vecchi, Amfiparnasso, 84, 143. 

A ida, 133. 

Falstaff, 133, 149, 166. 

Otello, 133. 

Requiem, 90. 

Rigoletto, 133. 

Traviata, La, 133. 

Trovatore, 11, 133. 

O quam gloriosum, 86-7, 98-100. 

Passion, 156. 

Fliegende Hollander, Der, 81, 129, 

G otter ddmmerung, Die, 28, 166. 

Lohengrin, 81, 128, 129, 151, 165. 

Meistersinger, Die, 3, 30, 79, 82, 
152, 153, 165. 

Parsifal, 82, 166. 

Rheingold, Das, 28, 81, 94, 119, 

Ring, Der, 67, 82, 95, 166. 

Siegfried, 3. 

Tannhauser, 128, 129, 165. 

Tristan und Isolde, 67, 68, 81, 
91, 165, 179-80, 220. 

Walkure, Die, 2, 81, 152. 

Euryanthe, 150, 151, 152, 

Freischutz, D<?r/151, 153, 181. 

Jubel-cantate, 5. 

Masses, 88. 

Oberon, 144, 151. 

Rondo brillante in E flat, 177-8. 
Wolf, songs, 132. 
Yonge, Musica Transalpina, 84. 

2 5 

the forms of miisi 


Donald Francis Tovey was perhaps the most literate 
and profound of modern interpreters of music its 
theory and history.. The essays which form the pres 
ent volume are all drawn from those articles on music 
which Tovey prepared for the Encyclopaedia Britan- 
nica* The gamut of his work all of which is available 
from Oxford University Press covers in more detailed 
analysis the material made available in this volume. 

To many listeners, even some who are passionate fol 
lowers of classical music, the subtle shift of forms and 
principles of composition which describe the difference 
between, for example, the cantata, the chorale, and the 
oratorio, are not easily understood. It is Tovey s inten 
tion in The Forms of Music to make such distinctions 
intelligible. There are in all twenty-eight articles on 
different kinds of elements of music aria, chamber 
music, concerto, harmony, mass, melody, opera, pro 
gramme music, sonata, symphony, and others. 

S 3